More than 15 clubs withdrawn from their leagues after the FA decided to null and void Steps 3-8 of the non league pyramid.
With coronavirus pandemic causing a huge financial impact at many clubs in the lower divisions, they have had no choice to step away as they.
It comes after Dover Athletic revealed worrying news on Monday, stating they could fold by August after making all of their players available for free transfer.
In May 2020, we revealed that there had been more than 10 clubs who had to step down from their leagues.
South Normanton Athletic followed the likes of Marlow United (withdrew), Brackley Town Saints (withdrew) and NKF Burbage (folded).
Other non league sides to drop out since July 2019 were Greenwich Borough, Leyton Athletic, Chinnor, Wodson Park, Pewsey Vale, Wootton Blue Cross, Milton United Development and Langley Reserves, however not all of them were due to COVID-19.
Within the last three months,more has been added to that list, it was a month ago that Southern League Premier Division South club Blackfield and Langley sent in a request to the FA for voluntary relegation.
This comes after their investor, manager and players left to join AFC Totton, so now the club have no choice but to leave league status due to high travel costs and mandatory changes to their infrastructure.
Blackfield & Langley sat 18th, five points above the relegation zone, before the 2019/20 season was null and void because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A Step 6 side had said they won’t be entering a team next season as the struggles continue off the back of the coronavirus pandemic.
The latest name to fallen foul to the struggles is FC Broxbourne Borough, who won’t be entering a team into the Spartan Division 1 next season.
FC Oswestry Town, who ground-shared with The New Saints, made the extremely sad and difficult decision that due to recent circumstances and the current economic climate that we have no alternative other than to dissolve the club and step down from their division.
They were members of the North West Counties League Division One South, finishing second behind already title winners Vauxhall Motors, before the season was made null and void.
Step 8 club Swanwick Pentrich Road FC cease to exist with immediate effect as it’s got more and more difficult to keep the non league side running.
Solent University (formerly known Team Solent) have sadly tendered their resignation from the Sydenhams (Wessex) League prior to the forthcoming 2020/2021 season.
The FA state that “constitutions for Steps 3-7 will remain the same next season.”
That initially created concerns for Bury AFC and FC Isle of Man who had planned to join the North West Counties League in 2020.
However since then, an exception has been made for them and they will contest at that level next season.
Fans thought during the pandemic that the FA could ultimately promoted teams to replace those who withdrew or folded.
There have been some lateral movements, but a huge amount of league has instead a mix number of teams in due to those who have stepped away.
You can see the official club allocations for those at Steps 3-6 for the 2020/21 season by clicking HERE.
The non league community had hoped there could be good news for Vauxhall Motors and Jersey Bulls, who already secured promotion. The Bulls (27) had been unbeaten in the league along with Stowmarket Town (28), Westfields (26), Risborough Rangers (23) and Littlehampton Town (22).
In England’s top 10 tiers, just five clubs were still unbeaten. This evening it’s been confirmed that their campaigns have been ‘expunged’. pic.twitter.com/0lAg7sbGxH — Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) April 9, 2020
Among those who were on course to go up were South Shields, Worthing, Maldon & Tiptree, Workington, 1874 Northwich, Ascot United and many more sides at steps further down.
The FA Council have confirmed that steps 3-7 are null & void. In purely footballing terms, these are some of the clubs who have lost out… pic.twitter.com/G0faEk2v5V — Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) April 9, 2020
Those who ‘benefitted’ from the null and void decision are Redditch United, Dorchester Town, Wantage Town, East Grinstead, Sawbridgeworth, Holmer Green, Loxwood, Athersley Recreation, East Hull and others, who were many points adrift from safety.
The FA Council have confirmed that steps 3-7 are null & void. In purely footballing terms, these are some of the clubs who have benefited… pic.twitter.com/4TVarL362D — Ollie Bayliss (@Ollie_Bayliss) April 9, 2020
Fans reacted after seeing that more than 15 clubs withdrawn from their leagues…
Both Ollerton & Emley have submitted lateral transfers. One from the NCEL1 to the EMCL & the other from the NWCL1N to the NCEL1. There’s a space in the EMCL unless South Normanton Athletic are places there after resigning from the MFL Prem. Where does this leave Bury AFC and IOM? — Brian Miller (@brianmiller216) April 10, 2020
It’s sad really how incompetent FA really are, since they expunged the season there is no PPG, no league table, no automatic promotions, so right now it looks like most of the leagues will miss club or two and i don’t see how can they “promote” someone since everyone is at 0 pts — Muaz Veladžić (@veladzicfr) April 9, 2020
Totally agree. They haven’t thought it through. — Andy Sharratt (@andysharratt) April 9, 2020
It’ll get even more messy when Step 1 & 2 decide to play out their seasons. Quite why you’d rubber stamp this decision when there are so many unknowns is beyond me. — Tim Bullock (@piearce9) April 9, 2020
Don’t think the FA know what they are doing! — gavvin (@gavjo1) April 9, 2020
? — Dan Masters (@Dmasters1) April 9, 2020
How will they decide who to promote? PPG, a lucky dip perhaps.. The whole situation has been turned into a mess because of the FA’s usual level of ignorance & incompetence. — Stu rt H rley (@GullInExile) April 10, 2020