What has been a brilliant run towards Championship promotion has now turned into nightmare for Maria Farrugia's Sunderland Ladies after the English football season from the women's third-tier has been brought to an end with results from the campaign voided, the Football Association announced on Thursday.
No promotion or relegation will take place from the leagues affected in what could be an important precedent if the suspension of professional games due to the COVID-19 pandemic is extended.
"The FA and NLS (National League System) steps three to six have reached a consensus that their 2019-20 season will now be brought to an end, and all results will be expunged," the FA said in a statement.
Men's grassroots football and women's football below the top two tiers were also brought to an end to "allow the game to move forward and to commence planning for next season."
Sunderland Ladies were currently leading the Women's National League (third-tier) with 40 points in 14 games and with a game in hand. They were 11 points clear from second-placed Derby County, whom they were meant to face on April 26.
The Black Cats also managed to reach the fifth round of the FA Women's Cup, succumbing to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands Women's Super League side Birmingham City.
Farrugia's side was also preparing for the FA Women's National League Cup final as well.
Men's league affected
The FA decision means that the men's championships below the two National Leagues will also see their campaigns voided.
Consequently, this year's leagues for former Malta U-19's and St Andrews player Jordan Williams and youth goalkeeper Sam Agius's seasons have come to an end.
"So Looks Like The Seasons Done, Absolute Shambles", Williams wrote on his Twitter profile.
Williams was on the books of Yate Town while Agius was defending Market Drayton Town's sticks, both in England's eighth-tier.
Yate Town were 19th in the 22-team championship on 29 points. Meanwhile, Agius' side were 19th from 20, with just 20 points to show.
Had the best time at @MDTFC, it’s a sad way for the loan and season to finish but I wish all the best to everyone involved with the club in the future! Stay safe everyone and see you all soon ❤️ https://t.co/tT17VzUpFl— Sam Agius (@SamAgius) March 26, 2020
On the other hand, Sam Magri's Havant and Waterloovile, and Maidenhead United of Joseph Ellul are still on course to complete the 2019-20 campaign as they feature in the National League championships.
While Magri's team are second on 67 points, three behind leaders Wealdstone, Ellul's side are facing a relegation battle as they are 22nd in the 24-team league on 41 points.
The Premier League and English Football League have so far insisted they will try to finish the current season whenever it is safe to do so.
Football is currently suspended until at least April 30 with that date expected to be pushed further back at meetings next week.
On Monday, the British government imposed further restrictions on movement to just essential work, shopping for food and medicine and one form of exercise a day, with those measures set to last at least three weeks.
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