Bideford and Barnstaple Town’s BetVictor Division One South season appears to be over after the Southern League announced it hopes to end the season.

A statement from the Southern League said the step three and step four leagues of the National League System – the Southern, Northern and Isthmian – were unanimous in wanting to end the season immediately and had ‘implemented the process’ to terminate the season.

It said a decision on whether the season is declared null and void, or if positions are decided on a points per game basis was being held up by the National League season.

The statement said: “The step three and four leagues share clubs’ frustration that it is taking so long to determine whether the 2019/20 season is to end now, and if so on what basis.

“To maintain the integrity of our competitions, we ideally need to apply one solution across all of the National League System. However, this may not be possible.

“The Southern, Isthmian and Northern Premier Leagues are unanimous in wanting to terminate the 2019-20 season immediately.

“Whether that is done on the basis of determining final placings via average points per game, or the season is declared null and void cannot be decided until the National League decides how it wishes to proceed.

“Right now, the National League’s position is that they wish to be able to resume the 2019-20 season at some point.

“The feeder leagues do not support this because our clubs do not have the financial resources to continue to honour player contracts indefinitely.

“The Southern, Isthmian and Northern Premier Leagues have therefore implemented the process to terminate the season.

“This has to be ratified by FA council, so there may be a short delay as the relevant documentation is submitted, distributed and approved. Therefore, the League’s desire is not the confirmed outcome.

“Whilst this process is on-going, and once the National League has finalised how it wishes to proceed, competition issues can then be decided, together with the implications for promotion and relegation.”

In a league where teams can drastically change from month to month, Bideford manager Sean Joyce said he felt null-and-voiding the season was the only way to go.

Bideford were on a late-season charge themselves, and had an outside chance of reaching the play-offs.

Joyce said: “We were on a good run and playing well. We had 10 games left and if we had won them we could get in the play-offs. I’m not saying we would do it but it shows everyone had a fighting chance.

“I think the leagues will change though. I fear for a lot of clubs coming through the other end of this.

“I think there will be an element of natural selection.”

The questions around relegation directly affect Barnstaple Town, who were sitting in the relegation play-off spot at the foot of the table, two points behind Basingstoke Town, but with a fighting chance of earning survival.

Manager Dean Edwards said: “I’ve racked my brains on how it could be resolved and at our level I can’t see it.

“They can’t relegate Barnstaple. Basingstoke are two points ahead and we felt like we were things right against Sholing.

“I think the only proper resolution is an early end to the season.”