Wisbech Town and Ely City survive, but March Town miss out on promotion as non-league season is over
- Credit: Archant
Our non-league and grassroots clubs will not play again this season after the Football Association called a halt to the 2019-20 campaign today (March 26).
The current season is officially over after it was declared null and void, with all results expunged for teams between Step 3 to Step 6 as well as at Step 7 and below.
There will also be no promotion or relegation, the likes of Wisbech Town surviving in the Northern Premier League South East Division while Ely City will remain in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division.
Meanwhile, March Town, who sat in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North promotion spots, will have to try again next season.
The decision from the FA and National Leagues System was announced in a statement. It said: “The FA and the National League System (NLS - Step 3 to Step 6) have reached a consensus that their 2019/20 season will now be brought to an end and all results will be expunged.
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“This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS Step 3 and Step 6, and no promotion to NLS Step 2.
“These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS Step 7.”
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There has been mixed reaction to the decision from some of our non-league managers, including Wisbech boss Brett Whaley and March Town chief Arran Duke.
Writing on social media, Whaley said: “Obviously pleased to be staying up, but not the way we’d have wanted. Decision had to be made quickly, and they couldn’t please everyone.”
Duke was less forgiving. He said: “Absolute waste of time and effort; reward those that have struggled, takeaway from those that were doing well now literally pointless. Shocking.”
Erkan Okay, assistant manager at Soham Town Rangers who play at Step 4, said: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported us this season and have always been there for STRFC.”
He added: “We have had many challenges to face this year, but overall, we have come through and for that, would like to thank the players for their hard work and commitment.”
The FA have also ruled that all grassroots football has been terminated for the current campaign as well - although those competitions won’t necessarily be declared null and void.
Their statement added: “Furthermore, we can now confirm that we have decided that all grassroots football is concluded for the 2019/20 season.
“This will allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season.
“Our county football associations (CFAs) will be supporting grassroots leagues over the coming days to determine how they should close out their current competitions.”
A major restructure of the non-league game, which was due to be implemented this summer, will now be delayed until after the 2020/21 season.
All women’s football from Tier 3 to Tier 7 has also been brought to an immediate end with results expunged.