Worthing, Hastings, Lancing, Littlehampton defeated in bid to save the non-league season - and promotion
It's over - at least for now. The 151 non-league clubs from across the country who had asked the FA to delay or reconsider a move to scrap the season and expunge results have been defeated.
The FA Council has ratified the decision of FA and league officials to terminate the season for teams at non-league step three and below and expunge results - meaning all teams start again in the same division as they have been in this season.
Now only legal action by some or all the clubs who had put their names to a letter of protest will carry on the hopes the season can yet be saved for the teams affected.
In Sussex it means Worthing, Hastings, Lancing and Littlehampton have had their fears confirmed - that their positions at the top of their respective Isthmian and SCFL divisions count for nothing and they must do it all again next season.
Here is the detailed thinking behind the decisionA further challenge to the decision is not impossible but it won't come cheap, and money is something many clubs at this level do not have.
The FA, Football League, Premier League and National League have yet to decide how to finish or conclude the 2019-20 season for all levels above step three - something that has angered many of the lower division non-league clubs, who feel the same rule should be applied to all levels of the game.
An FA statement said: "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, we have 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."
More to follow on this story over the next few days....
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