Ciderspace seems to have been reporting on play-offs and promotion issues continuously for about the last four years, as the Conference battled and initially failed to get fairer treatment, cocked up its first play-off scheme dramatically, and finally secured two up / two down.
We thought, with Yeovil Town moving up to Division Three, we might be able to have a rest from all that for a while. But no. The very first issue that is brought to our attention in the Nationwide League Bulletin is........ play-offs.
Next Thursday, April 24th, all 72 Nationwide League clubs gather at Leicester for their final meeting of the 2002-03 season ahead of June's AGM. And top of the agenda is the proposal from Crystal Palace Chief Executive Phil Alexander to shake up the play-off system.
Already heavily trailed in the media, the proposals are that the number of clubs in each division involved in the play-offs increases from four to six. The clubs finishing 5th and 8th, and 6th and 7th, would play each other in one-off games, with the team finishing higher having home advantage. The winners then go forward to play at the grounds of the 3rd and 4th placed teams. The winners of those two matches then progress to a Final at a neutral ground. (In Division Three all placings drop one, as three clubs are promoted automatically.)
If the reaction to these proposals is favourable on the 24th then a formal motion will be tabled for the League to alter its constitution at the AGM in June.
However, prior to that motion being discussed, the first item on the agenda on June 5th will be that of formally ending the membership of the League of the two relegated clubs from Division Three, and the admission of the play-off winners from the Conference, and the Champions - Yeovil Town.
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