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Football Association agrees to cancel non-league, women’s and grassroots season

The decision was ratified on Thursday.

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The grass roots, non-league and women’s game has been dealt a blow (PA)

The grass roots, non-league and women’s game has been dealt a blow (PA)

The grass roots, non-league and women’s game has been dealt a blow (PA)

The Football Association Council has ratified the decision to effectively cancel the 2019/20 season for sections of the non-league, women’s and grassroots game.

It was announced last month that the unfinished campaigns for divisions beneath the National League’s three tiers, as well as steps three to seven of the women’s game would be expunged.

That caused considerable pushback from those involved, with clubs, administrators and MPs calling on the FA to think again, but the decision has now been rubberstamped.

A statement from the game’s governing body read: “The FA Council has today ratified the decision to conclude the 2019/20 season across Steps 3-7 of the National League System, Tiers 3 to 7 of the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game.

“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, The FA has been working collaboratively with the leagues within the National League System , the Women’s Football Board, the Women’s Football Conference, and the wider grassroots game to identify the most appropriate way to conclude the 2019/20 season at each level.

“The request to end the 2019/20 season was taken to The FA Council by the representatives of the relevant committees having been fully supported by The FA Board. The FA Council’s vote today was overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying the decision.”

The decision will be met with frustration by those worst affected, specifically clubs on track for promotion.

South Shields, top of the Bet Victor Northern Premier by 12 points, were outspoken when the idea was originally brought forward and chairman Geoff Thompson took to Twitter to hint at a potential legal challenge.

Hinting that he was not alone, Thompson posted: “I’m clearly disappointed to read the FA Council have ratified the decision to null and void the season for steps 3-7.

“Dialogue already started with numerous clubs regarding next steps. Calls scheduled with lawyers tomorrow.”

PA