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Staring into the void: Non-league set to end season, affecting all English football

THE National League is preparing to shut down the 2019-20 campaign ‘as soon as possible’, a move which could have significant implications for the Premier League and Football League.

Many of England’s leading non-league clubs say they cannot afford to delay a decision and want the Football Association to void their season now.

The Premier League and EFL, where the action is already on hold until April 30, remain committed to finishing their seasons but setting such a precedent at non-league level could have major ramifications further up the pyramid.

If the National League campaign is voided it calls into question the need for relegation from League Two, with the potential for a knock-on effect further up, where Liverpool are on the brink of a first title in 30 years and Leeds and West Brom are well placed for promotion to the top flight.

A National League statement read: ‘The FA have been asked to assist us with making the decisions to officially postpone all remaining fixtures and to end the season as soon as possible for the purposes of player contracts.’

Should the cancellation be granted, a decision would need to be made about whether final positions are determined by average points per game or to scrap the season altogether.

A majority of clubs reportedly favour the latter, to the dismay of Ian Evatt, boss of Barrow who are four points clear at the top.

‘We’re talking about, from some clubs’ perspective, seven games from completing the season,’ he said.

‘You can’t null and void it. We’ve been top for five months. From our perspective, the interest of fairness would be for us to be promoted.’ But with clubs already cutting pay and placing players and staff on leave, Dagenham managing director Steve Thompson said it was vital to cancel the season.

‘What this measure does is help clubs preserve and consolidate their own clubs to ensure everybody can get through this,’ he said.

An FA spokesperson said: ‘No official decision has been made yet. Our primary concern is for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff and supporters.’