THE North West Counties Football League is among the first to officially cancel the 2019/20 season due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The league’s Premier and North and South divisions form part of steps five and six of the non-league pyramid. And it has been officially announced that the Football Association has said they are not to be completed at any stage.

Local clubs Atherton LR and Daisy Hill compete in the NWCL First Division North and both played their final games of the campaign earlier this month.

With neither club occupying promotion or relegation places in the league table, neither will be affected by a decision – yet to be taken – on the prospect of a points-per-game equation being used to decide final placings. The FA Leagues Committee must decide whether to employ that system or simply declare the season null and void with no clubs being promoted or relegated.

Meanwhile, league officials have made clear their wish to have the Northern Premier League – steps three and four – season cancelled.

The NPL and their regional equivalents, the Isthmian and Southern Leagues, are unanimous in wanting to terminate the season with immediate effect.

“The NPL, Isthmian and Southern Leagues have made the FA of their wish to terminate the 2019/20 season, although any such decision has to be ratified by FA council,” said a league statement. “While this process is on-going, competition issues can then be decided, together with the implications for promotion and relegation.”

Atherton Collieries currently occupy a relegation place in the Premier Division, sitting second-bottom. But as Brad Cooke’s side have up to seven games in hand on their rivals they could maintain their Premier Division place, either through the season being written off or via the points-per-game method.