Southern League and Isthmian League confirm plans to terminate seasons but say National League wants to resume
PUBLISHED: 17:47 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 25 March 2020
The Southern League and Isthmian League have “commenced the process” of terminating their league seasons after they were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
But, according to a joint statement from both leagues, the National League wants the seasons in all three of its divisions to resume whenever possible.
A decision is yet to be made on whether the Southern League and Isthmian League seasons will be null and voided or if promotions and relegations will happen and on what basis.
The statement said: “The step 3 and 4 leagues share clubs’ frustrations that it is taking so long to determine whether the 2019/20 season is to end now, and if so on what basis.
“To maintain the integrity of our competitions, we ideally need to apply one solution across the whole of the National League system. However, this may not be possible.
“The Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern Leagues are unanimous in wanting to terminate the 2019-20 season immediately. The Step 5/6 leagues also support the immediate termination of the season.
“Whether that is done on the basis of determining final placings via average points per game, or the season is declared null and void cannot be determined until the National League decides how it wishes to proceed.
“Right now, the National League’s position is that they wish to be able to resume the 2019-20 season at some point.
“The feeder leagues do not support this because our clubs do not have the financial resources to continue to honour player contracts indefinitely.
“The step 3 and 4 leagues have therefore commenced the process to terminate the season.
“This has to be ratified by the FA council, so there may be a short delay as the relevant documentation is submitted, distributed and approved.
“Whilst this process is ongoing, and once the National League has finalised how it wishes to proceed, competition issues can then be decided, together with the implications for promotion and relegation.
“As soon as the National League’s position is finalised, we will be able to confirm the basis on which the 2019-20 season has ended.
“The FA is currently reviewing its rules to understand whether any emergency changes are required for season 2019/2020 which impact on player contracts, registration deadlines and retention/offers of re-engagement in the National League system.”