The football season is officially over for North Devon’s football clubs playing non-league, grassroots and women’s football.

The FA announced on Thursday (March 26) that leagues from step three to step seven of its National League System (NLS) will be brought to an end and deemed null and void due to the coronavirus outbreak.

All results will be expunged and there will be no promotion or relegation of clubs between those divisions, and no promotion from step three to the National League.

The decision affects Bideford and Barnstaple Town in the step four BetVictor Division One South; Ilfracombe Town, Holsworthy, Torrington and Torridgeside in the step six South West Peninsula League Premier East, and Braunton and Witheridge in the step seven Devon Football League North and East.

At grassroots level, the North Devon Football League season will end – although no decision has been made on how it will be closed.

The news is likely to be a relief for Barnstaple Town, who after being embroiled in another relegation battle in Division One South, have been handed another reprieve.

There will also be relief for Torrington, who were battling at the bottom of the South West Peninsula League Premier East.

On the other side of the coin, there’s disappointment for Ilfracombe Town, who were vying for promotion to step five after putting together a run for the Premier East title.

The FA statement said: “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.

“Where appropriate, the above decisions will be put to The FA Council for ratification.

“Throughout this period we continue to seek guidance in respect of the government’s financial support packages relative to COVID-19 and how they are applicable to clubs in the NLS, the women’s football pyramid and the wider grassroots game.”