ONLY one automatic relegation spot will exist in the Southern Premier South this season, Echosport can confirm.

Southern League officials clarified the destiny of clubs in the division after Blackfield & Langley’s voluntary double relegation to the Wessex Premier Division.

The relegation picture in the Southern Premier South was complicated further by Merthyr Town’s decision not to play due to Covid-19.

Merthyr will not be penalised for suspending their season and will remain in the division for the 2021/22 campaign.

The development has ramifications for other clubs in the division, including Dorchester and Wimborne.

League rules state clubs in the ‘bottom two places in each of the four divisions at Step 3’ will be relegated.

In addition, the ‘two third-from-bottom clubs with the lowest points per game’ across all four leagues will be relegated to a feeder pool and placed in Step 4 based on geographical location.

This means that the bottom side in the Southern Premier South will take the drop to Step 4.

The team directly above them will be placed into the feeder pool and could be relegated if their points-per-game ratio is low enough.

For example, as the league stands now, 20th-placed Beaconsfield Town would be relegated and Dorchester, in 19th, would slot into the feeder pool.

Dorset Echo:

Dorchester have not played a league game since the 2-1 defeat at Taunton Town on Tuesday, October 27.

The Magpies signed off in style before lockdown with a 2-1 victory over Gosport Borough to progress to an FA Trophy first-round clash at Swindon Supermarine, which could be the Magpies' first fixture after lockdown.

Last week, the Southern League announced a restart date of Saturday, December 12, subject to lockdown ending.

Clubs are permitted to start playing one week earlier, subject to agreement.