A statement released by the English Football Association (FA) has confirmed that it has concluded the grassroots football 2019/20 season with steps three to six of its National League System (NLS) being brought to an end. 

The FA revealed it had been working collaboratively with the NLS and the women’s football pyramid since the outbreak of COVID-19 on how to conclude the 2019-20 season in the most appropriate way possible.

A statement from the FA read: “The NLS and the women’s football pyramid were able to build a consensus amongst their leagues and, where possible, aimed to create a consistent approach across all leagues, whilst taking into account the unique characteristics of each individual league.

“As a result, The FA and NLS steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged. This will mean no promotion or relegation of clubs between NLS steps three to six, and no promotion to NLS step two.

“These decisions will also apply to the leagues and clubs who play at NLS step seven. We will continue to assist and support the National League (NLS steps one and two) to determine the outcome of its 2019-20 season as quickly as possible. The planned implementation of the restructure of the NLS will also now be deferred until the start of the 2021-22 season.

“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.”

In addition to this, it was also confirmed that a similar decision had been made regarding women’s football in England, with the leagues between tiers three to seven reaching a consensus that will see the immediate end to the current campaign. 

It was also revealed that the FA remains in contact with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship Board and clubs as the association continues to search for the best way to complete the current campaign.

Regarding the ongoing knockout FA competitions such as the 2019-20 Emirates FA Cup, Women’s FA Cup, Buildbase FA Trophy and Buildbase FA Vase, the association acknowledged that all are at advanced stages and as a result, a review is currently ongoing on options that would see the competitions completed. 

The statement from the FA concluded: “These are challenging circumstances for English football and all decisions taken are in the best interests of the game and in consultation across key stakeholders. Our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters during this unprecedented time.

“Today’s steps take into account the financial impact during this uncertain period, whilst considering the fairest method on how the sporting outcomes for the season will be decided with the integrity of the leagues in mind.”

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