Southern League Premier Division South club Blackfield and Langley have sent in a request to the FA for voluntary relegation.
It comes after their investor, manager and players left to join AFC Totton, so now the club have no choice but to leave league status due to high travel costs and mandatory changes to their infrastructure.
Blackfield & Langley sat 18th, five points above the relegation zone, before the 2019/20 season was null and void because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to that decision by the FA to end their season now, Blackfield & Langley were set to play in the Southampton Senior Cup final at St Mary’s Stadium.
The FA is yet to get back to the non league club, leaning them unsure of which league they will play in.
Vice-chairman Hans McDonald told the Advertiser and Times: “It breaks my heart what we have to do for the football club.
“The committee has put in so much hard work over the past three years.
“This isn’t about football. This is about ground grading and travelling costs. A bigger budget is something we can’t afford at the moment.”
The club holds optimism for their future despite voluntary relegation plans.
McDonald added: “We are going down to build up again.
“I’ve got the confidence in these lads to do just that. There is no doubt Fawzi and Ryan can get a team together to compete in the Southern League, but it’s all the things that go with it.”
Blackfield & Langley were Wessex League Division One runners-up in 2008–09, earning them promotion to the Premier Division.
In 2012–13, the club won the Premier Division, but did not apply for promotion to the Southern League due to the cost of upgrading their ground.
The club were Premier Division champions in 2017–18, earning promotion to Division One South of the Southern League.
The 2018–19 season saw the club win the Division One South title, earning promotion to the Premier Division South.
They remain determined to go on and meet their ambitions of yet more promotions.
New player-manager Fawzi Saadi said: “We are very ambitious. Blackfield is a winning club, and we are used to that. We have won two promotions in a row so the aim for us this year is to do well in the league and cups.”
Fans gave their reaction after finding out the Southern League club request voluntary relegation.
Many question whether the FA will make an exception after saying Steps 3-7 will remain the same for next season”, as there would be gaps with teams either folding or stepping down.