National League season ends – but clubs still have to decide what happens next
Future unclear despite clear majority deciding the remaining fixtures should be cancelled.
The National League has announced all remaining league matches will be cancelled amid the coronavirus crisis, with clubs now having to vote on how best to decide the season.
The National League, National League North and National League South were suspended on March 16, having controversially played a round of fixtures after the suspension of the Premier League and EFL.
With no immediate end in sight to the Covid-19 pandemic and non-league football feeling the pinch, the 68 clubs have been voting on whether to end the league season.
The National League has only received 90 per cent of votes, but there was a clear enough majority for the remaining league matches to be cancelled.
A statement read: “National League clubs were asked to support an ordinary resolution on 9 April to end the playing season for all fixtures scheduled up to and including 25 April 2020.
“With almost 90 per cent of responses returned it is evident a clear majority of clubs are in favour, including a majority of clubs in each of the National League, National League North and National League South divisions.
“In the knowledge that the ordinary resolution has passed, the League’s Board has chosen to communicate the decision now and before the last few responses are received, which will not change the outcome, to enable clubs to make business decisions with greater clarity as soon as possible.
“Clubs yet to respond still have an opportunity to do so, and the League wishes to include as many preferences as possible before the final voting result is declared.”
There is now the small matter of deciding how to end the season in the National League’s three divisions.
Barrow are four points clear at the top of the fifth tier, with York top of the National League North, albeit having played two more matches than King’s Lynn, and Wealdstone top of the National League South.
The league said: “The options concerning the sporting outcomes of the 2019-20 season remain under careful and timely consideration, and further updates will be given in due course.”
Decisions have to be made whether to determine the final standings by average points per game, declare the campaign null and void or implement an alternative solution such as play-offs.
National League chief executive Michael Tattersall said: “At a time when the entire country is wrestling with the devastating impact of Covid-19, the cancellation of the remaining normal season matches brings a degree of certainty to our clubs coping with the business implications of the virus.”
It is four weeks since the National League asked the Football Association to help end its season “as soon as possible” due to the coronavirus.
The FA Council voted “overwhelmingly in favour” of ratifying the decision to cancel the season from step three and below of non-league football and tiers three to seven of the women’s football pyramid.