The South West Peninsula League has passed a motion proposing that league games should not be played between now and May 31, saying it is “morally wrong” to play during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter sent to the Football Association Leagues Committee, league secretary Phil Hiscox, on behalf of the league board, stated that a proposal put to the board that it “should not look to reschedule league games between now and May 31, 2021” was passed by ten votes to zero.

Explaining the decision, the board statement said that “it is our belief that it is neither safe nor practical to resume league football this season”, given the amount of fixtures needed to be played to finish the season and no idea as to when restrictions will be lifted to allow those matches.

The letter was sent earlier in January but not made public until Saturday (January 23), the day after an FA survey asking clubs for their thoughts on how to proceed with the season had closed.

It is not yet known when the results of the FA survey of clubs will be published.

The league said it was “not averse” to resuming the league programme in August, and that it was not asking for the season to be declared null and void.

However, it did voice its opposition to resolving the season using a points-per-game method, saying that “there is a real danger that a league or officer could have undue influence in deciding leagues on PPG and that is contrary to sporting integrity of the competition”.

The method was used to settle several sports leagues last season, including the English Football League One and Two divisions.

The league also confirmed that, in the event of no league games being played this season, that provisional plans are being worked on, provided football can be legally resumed by March 31, to play cup competitions instead.

This could see the Cornwall FA completing the Cornwall Senior Cup, as well as the SWPL running its Walter C Parson League Cup and a new, one-off cup competition to provide some meaningful fixtures between now and the end of the season on May 31.

Local football, like almost all competitive sport, has been suspended since the country went into its third national lockdown at the start of January.

The current suspension of sport, plus the delayed start to the campaign in September and the month-long lockdown in November has meant that very few league games have been played in the 2020/21 season.

There is also no idea yet as to when restrictions will be lifted to allow matches to resume, fuelling fears that a second successive season could be declared null and void.

But while there may be eagerness from some quarters to resume fixtures as soon as restrictions are eased, the SWPL, when giving its reasons for its earlier decision, stated that it would be “morally wrong to play team sports during a time of a national pandemic”.

The board statement to the FA added that “we should not seek exemption, but lead by example, and cease playing until restrictions are lifted (nationally and locally).”

The board also cited several other concerns about restarting the league season, saying that team sports “represent a genuine threat to people’s health” and that several club volunteers and officials fall outside the top four priority groups for receiving a Covid-19 vaccination.

The government has set a target to offer vaccination slots to 15 million in the top four priority groups - including all over-80s - by February 15.

But the SWPL board has said that many club volunteers are aged 60 or over, with over-60s falling in the seventh priority group for vaccinations.

Concerns were also raised over playing matches should the Tier restrictions previously in place before the lockdown return. Football in Tier 4 was not permitted, while the SWPL had suspended fixtures after both Cornwall and Devon briefly moved into Tier 3 on New Year’s Eve.

It also stressed the need for a “pre-season” period before matches resume, which would eat away into the limited time available to play matches and raised concerns of clubs that share their facilities with cricket clubs, with the 2021 cricket season due to begin in April.