Published: 16:00, 26 March 2020
| Updated: 16:55, 26 March 2020
The lower leagues of football have agreed to end the season with immediate affect.
All results from the 2019/20 season between steps three to six of the non-league pyramid have been expunged and there will be no promotion or relegation between the divisions.
It means the Isthmian League (steps three and four) and the Southern Counties East League (five and six) results from this season have counted for nothing. Play will be restarted from scratch when the 2020/21 season gets underway.
The FA have also said that all grassroots football is concluded for the season.
The National League (steps one and two) have yet to make a decision over whether to follow the EFL and the Premier League in trying to finish the season, or end it immediately in line with other non-league football.
In the woman’s game, leagues within tiers three to seven have also had their seasons ended and results expunged.
There will be no relegation from National League South - which means Tonbridge Angels, currently outside the bottom two and with games in hand, will remain at that level for a second season, even if the National League do play their remaining matches.
The alternative option to making the season null and void was to finalise the season now on a points-per-game system.
An FA statement said: “These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game and in consultation across key stakeholders. Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.
“Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided with the integrity of the leagues in mind.”
In the Isthmian League Premier Division, Folkestone Invicta were chasing a play-off spot and Cray Wanderers sat second in the table. Margate sit mid-table with nine left to play.
Numerous teams play in the South East Division, including Ashford United and Cray Valley, who were both chasing top spot. Herne Bay were in the play-off mix.
VCD Athletic, Phoenix Sports, Sevenoaks, Hythe, Whitstable, Sittingbourne, Faversham and Ramsgate all had plenty of games left to play.
It's tough on the SCEFL teams too.
Five teams were still in with a chance to taking top spot in the Premier Division with around a quarter of the league games still to be played.
Beckenham Town were top, two points ahead of Corinthian - who may still be able to play their FA Vase semi-final - a further two points infront of Chatham Town, who were just ahead of Sheppey United.
Tunbridge Wells had another 15 league games left but could still, mathematically, have challenged the leaders for the title.
The top side in SCEFL was to be automatically promoted with a possible second place going up too.
There was also a hotly contested battle in Division 1, with Kennington leading the way ahead of Rusthall and Holmesdale. Rochester United, in fifth, had enough games in hand to challenge too. There were seven teams in the running for four promotion places.
On the FA Vase competition, where Corinthian are set to play Hebburn Town in a two-legged semi-final, the FA say: “We are reviewing all options as we seek to complete these competitions whenever it is safe and appropriate to do so.
“Clubs involved are close to reaching a major final and for those clubs and supporters we will do all we can to keep the Wembley dream alive.”
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More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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