Northern Premier League officials have suspended the competition until further notice as Britain’s battle against the coronavirus continues to escalate.
The competition’s annual players’ awards in April was also cancelled on Monday afternoon and the NPL Football Academy suspended until further notice.
The NPL broke ranks with the Southern League and Isthmian League on Friday by not suspending their campaign at the weekend as sport was decimated by the public health crisis.
The three BetVictor sponsored competitions had been taking a joint approach to the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak since meeting with the Football Association and other competitions in the National League System last Wednesday.
Official Statement regarding the suspension of the #BetVictorNPL
— The Northern Premier League (@NorthernPremLge) March 16, 2020
The Vanarama National League also announced its fixture programme would go ahead at lunchtime on Friday after the Premier League and English Football League both suspended their matches until April 3.
The NPL statement read: “The Northern Premier League has today decided, reluctantly, to suspend all fixtures until further notice in light of the escalating Covid-19 outbreak.
“The League would like to congratulate the players, officials, volunteers and fans of clubs able to stage games at the weekend and notes the excellent attendances at those fixtures.
“Whilst the primary responsibility of the League is to the financial sustainability of its member clubs, the number of clubs reporting players or officials in self-isolation has now reached a point at which continuing to play games would severely undermine the integrity of the competition.
“In consultation with the partners Eliteform, all NPL Football Academy fixtures have also been suspended until further notice.
“The NPL is well aware that clubs and fans need clarity around whether the 2019/20 season is to be suspended temporarily or permanently, and the full implications of either eventuality.”
The statement added: “The NPL will be working with the other Alliance Leagues and the Football Association, to assess the various options and to agree a way forward. As soon as we are able to, we will share that information with member clubs and their supporters.”
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper this Sunday for the latest news from across Non-League over the last seven days and the growing impact of the coronavirus on the game and society.