DORCHESTER Town, Portland United and Bridport face an immediate end to the season following an FA announcement.

In a recent survey, 76 per cent of clubs in Steps 3-6 voted to end a campaign which had already been paused since the third lockdown.

The outcome is subject to FA Council ratification and follows the decision for Step 2 leagues to null and void last week.

Similarly to the impact of that outcome on Steps 1 and 2, no decisions on promotion and relegation have been made for Steps 3 to 6.

It is the second season in succession at Steps 3 to 6 that has fallen victim to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Magpies, Blues and Bees will now have around six months to prepare for the 2021/22 season.

Under the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, non-elite football was neglected in the finer details, with fans set to return to elite football from May 17.

In a lengthy statement, the FA said 99.1 per cent of clubs in Steps 3 to 4 had responded to the survey along with 95.8 per cent of teams in Steps 5 to 6.

Overall, 76 per cent of respondents voted to null and void the season if it could not be restarted with "limited spectator numbers and hospitality before April 1."

The FA added that extending the season beyond May 31 "would not be a viable option" with 81 per cent of games still to be played in Steps 3 to 4 and 75 per cent in Steps 5 to 6.

Therefore a "consensus" has been reached to end the season with "immediate effect."

Subject to the FA Council's decision, discussions on the postponed restructuring of Steps 4 to 6 will be revisited.

Dorchester Town, in Step 3, have only played seven games in the Southern Premier South, occupying 19th of 20 teams.

Portland United are 18th of 20 sides in Step 5 league the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division, while fellow Step 5 team Bridport are 20th of 21 clubs in the Toolstation Western League Premier Division.

Read the full statement below:

"The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have now considered the large amount of data and information submitted by clubs across the National League System (NLS) Steps 3-6 as part of a survey to gather views on the continuation or conclusion of the 2020-21 league season, in addition to the information set out in the Government’s roadmap this week.

"Submissions were made by 99.1 per cent of clubs at Steps 3 and 4, and 95.8 per cent of clubs at Steps 5 and 6.

"We would like to thank the clubs for submitting their views and the time taken in providing responses during what we appreciate is an incredibly challenging period for everyone.

"The results of the survey showed that over 76 per cent of all clubs across Steps 3-6 indicated a preference to curtail the 2020-21 league season if it could not be restarted with limited spectator numbers and hospitality before 1 April 2021.

"During this process, taking into account views of clubs and leagues it was decided that extending the 2020-21 league season beyond the end of May 2021 would not be a viable option.

"This was due to various considerations, including the financial implications for many clubs, player contracts and the extent of the fixture scheduling issues caused by the national lockdown and various postponements which had resulted in there being 81 per cent of matches left to complete for Steps 3 and 4, and 75 per cent at Steps 5 and 6.

"Taking into account the survey results and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, which continues to adversely affect incomes for clubs due to restrictions on both spectators and hospitality, The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees have reached a consensus that subject to the approval of FA Council, the 2020-21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the NLS should be curtailed with immediate effect, with no further league matches taking place this season.

"The Committees will now present their collective recommendations to The FA Council for ratification.

"It has also been decided that subject to FA Council’s decision regarding the curtailment of the season at Steps 3 to 6, both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at Steps 4-6 of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course."