THE FA Council has approved the decision to end the 2019-20 non-league season across steps three to seven.

The FA last month ended the campaign for teams across steps 3-7 of the non-league system due to the coronavirus pandemic, expunging all results for the 2019-20 season.

It prompted a letter signed by more than 150 non-league clubs and grassroots football clubs sent to the FA expressing their “profound concern and displeasure” at the decision.

The letter accused the FA of acting with “needless and inexplicable haste” and was “coupled with (a) total lack of substantive dialogue or consultation with affected clubs”.

But the FA Council’s voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying the decision.

The decision to null and void the season is a particular blow to teams like Maldon and Tiptree - who were 14 points clear at the top of Isthmian League division north with 12 games to play.

The development also affects Brightlingsea Regent, who are bottom of the BetVictor Isthmian League premier division, as well as north division teams Heybridge Swifts, Coggeshall Town and Witham Town.

Stanway Rovers, FC Clacton and Brantham Athletic play in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division - step five - while step six features division south sides Little Oakley, Harwich and Parkeston, Halstead Town, Holland FC, Wivenhoe Town, Coggeshall United and Brightlingsea Regent Reserves.

Regent were sitting bottom of the Isthmian League premier division, so have been spared relegation, while Maldon were top of division north. Swifts were fourth, in the play-off zone, and Coggeshall sixth.

Stanway were third in the Thurlow Nunn League premier division while Oakley were third in first division south, with Holland fifth and Halstead seventh.

The FA’s Head of National League System Laurence Jones said in a statement: 'This is an unprecedented and extraordinary time for football, at every level of our game.

'Whilst football is a hugely important part of all our lives, our primary concern will always be for the safety and welfare of clubs, players, staff, officials, volunteers and supporters.

'In recent weeks, we have worked closely with committee and league representatives of Step 3 and below to help identify a way through the impact of COVID-19 on football.

'In this instance, our role is to support as much as possible; we can guide the leagues on their potential options going forward, offer our support, and to provide clarity where possible.

'We will look to the league and club representatives on the relevant committees as they know their leagues better than anyone else and they will always make decisions that are in the best interest of their clubs and leagues as a whole.

'During this very challenging period it’s important that our processes are robust and that we work closely and collaboratively with league representatives to come to a collective decision that’s in the best interest of the wider game.

'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.'