THE National Leagues Board (NLB) has confirmed that it has revised the intended Return to Play date for the second tier of the National League system for the 2020-21 season.

Following the Welsh Government announcement that the country would remain at Alert Level 4 and the second tier not having its ‘Elite Status’ reinstated by the National Sports Group, the NLB revised its proposed return to play date for the Tier 2 competitions.

Consequently, should the Welsh Government reduce the National Alert Level to 3 at the next Welsh Government Coronavirus Review, or should the Tier 2 leagues have its ‘Elite Status’ reinstated, whichever comes soonest, the leagues will resume on the weekend of the March 26/27.

The league’s playing calendar would see matches take place between March 26 and May 29 and will see clubs such as Ruthin Town, Conwy Borough and Llandudno return to action.

When the season begins, teams are expected to play each other just the once in order to complete the tight fixture schedule.

Which clubs will play home/away will be decided via a draw system.

The FAW’s National Leagues Board has also confirmed that JD Cymru South and North clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 season, should the leagues return.

The decision comes after the Board confirmed its implementation in the JD Cymru Premier last month ahead of its return after the top-flight had its ‘Elite Status’ reinstated.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

The Tier 2 leagues will be permitted to restart if the country moves to Alert Level 3 at the next Welsh Government Coronavirus Review, or if its ‘Elite Status’ is reinstated, whichever comes soonest.