MOST of Dorset’s ‘non-elite’ football teams may face a lengthy wait to resume play after widespread league suspensions in response to the county’s new Tier 3 grading.

After the Government placed Dorset into the second-strictest measures to combat Covid-19, teams across the county have seen fixtures paused until further notice.

Dorchester Town will not resume their Southern League season until Saturday, January 16 at the earliest, while play in the Wessex League is frozen until a review on Monday, January 18 – affecting Portland United.

Bridport’s Western League will not restart before Saturday, January 23 – even if western England retreats to Tier 2.

At grassroots level, the Dorset Women's League is also paused.

However, the Dorset Premier League (DPL) and Dorset Football League (DFL) will not continue until the county’s Tier 2 status is restored.

This morning, the DPL said: "Following consultation with the league officers over the current Covid situation, it has been decided to further suspend the DPL with immediate effect, until such time that the current tier systems covering our league are reduced.

"Please all stay safe and follow protocols."

In a statement, DFL registrations secretary Jon Fancy said: “At a meeting of the Officers of the Dorset League and following the responses received from competing clubs, of whom the majority did not wish to continue in the League at the current time, the Dorset League will be suspended with immediate effect.

“This decision is inclusive of all divisions in the league – Saturday, Under-18 and Veterans.

“The league will remain suspended until such time as a government tier review makes a change that would allow the league to resume safely. The expectation from the officers is that this would need at least one of the affected areas moving to Tier 2.

“We all feel that it is important to stress that there is a firm commitment from the league to conclude this season and we will all do as much as we can to achieve this.”