The FA has set out its proposals for a restructure in non league football
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The Football Association has set out its proposals for the restructure of steps four, five and six.
Following the curtailment of the 2020/21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees announced that they would consider the feasibility of undertaking the restructure at Steps 4-6 (which was intended to take effect from the 20/21 season but has been delayed due to the impact of COVID-19).
The Committees have now met to consider this matter and will be recommending to FA Council that the structural changes to the number of divisions in the NLS be completed in order to address the imbalance that currently exists and achieve the ‘pure pyramid’ at Steps 1-6.
The planned and delayed restructure comprises of one additional division at Step 4, two additional divisions at Step 5 and a reduction of divisions, from 20 to 17, at Step 6.
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As part of the proposals, 110 clubs would be upwardly moved within the pyramid at Steps 4-6 in order to facilitate the new divisions, protecting the integrity of the NLS whilst supporting clubs with a desire and ambition to progress, without undermining the stability of the system. The restructure will have a positive impact on a significant number of clubs, supporting them with reduced travel and costs and providing greater opportunities for generating income via localised fixtures.
FA Council will be considering the recommendations of the Committees in due course and Clubs and Leagues will continue to be kept updated on this process.
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In summary, the Committees have proposed that:
1. The following divisional changes will be implemented (on the basis of the previously conducted tender process) for the 2021-22 season:
a. One new division will be created at Step 4, to be administered by the Northern Premier League;
b. Two new divisions will be created at Step 5, to be administered by the Combined Counties League and the United Counties League; and
c. The number of divisions at Step 6 will be reduced to 17.
2. In order to implement these divisional changes, 110 clubs will be required to upwardly move within the pyramid at Steps 4 to 6:
a. 20 clubs will move from Step 5 to Step 4;
b. 60 clubs will move from Step 6 to Step 5 (20 to backfill those Clubs elevated to Step 4, and 40 to populate the two new divisions); and
c. 30 clubs will move from Regional NLS Feeder Leagues to Step 6 (to bring Step 6 divisions to their full quota, taking into account the reduced number of divisions going forwards).