THE National League North season has been declared null and void, meaning Darlington, Spennymoor Town, York City and Gateshead have all played their final matches of the 2020-21 campaign.

However, clubs in the National League have voted to continue playing, which means Hartlepool United’s attempts to regain a place in the Football League will carry on with their league being played to a conclusion.

The National League revealed the results of a series of votes tonight, with clubs having been asked to decide what to do in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Clubs in National Leagues North and South voted 24-19 in favour of ending the current campaign, which means matches in both leagues will cease.

Both Darlington and Spennymoor had publicly declared their support for ending the season, citing concerns over a lack of Covid testing and worries over the financial implications of having to play matches behind-closed-doors as the key reasons for their stance.

While National Lottery funding helped plug the financial gap caused by a lack of spectators earlier in the season, it was recently revealed that National League North clubs would have to rely on Government loans rather than grants if they were to carry on playing.

Both Darlington and Spennymoor felt it would not be prudent to incur significant debt in order to see out the season, with Quakers’ stance supported by the club’s manager, Alun Armstrong, earlier this week.

The National League board will now instruct the Football Association of the decision to cease matches in National Leagues North and South, with the FA expected to ratify the voiding of the season shortly.

The issue of relegation and promotion will be clarified, with the FA expected to rule that all promotion to and relegation from step two will be voided for the 2020-21 season.

The situation is different in the National League as the clubs in that division voted 13-7 against declaring the season null and void. Two clubs are yet to cast their vote, but given that only a majority decision is needed, their responses cannot alter the outcome.

As a result, matches will continue in the National League, although it is not yet clear what will happen if clubs arbitrarily decide that they are unwilling to fulfil their fixture obligations.

Hartlepool, who are currently in fifth position in the table, only outside the play-off places on goal difference, voted to continue playing and are due to host Yeovil Town at Victoria Park on Saturday.