Details of Proposals for Restructure
Proposal A New Conference 2nd Division – National
This proposes the creation of another national league below the current Football Conference. Clubs from the current feeder leagues would be invited to apply and 22 would be selected to form a Conference 2nd division. Below this, there would be some re-alignment of boundaries between the Isthmian and Southern Leagues.
The existing feeder leagues would now feed into the Conference 2nd division. There would be 44 clubs at the top of the National League System playing in a national league.
The criteria for admission would, over time, become closer to that of the Conference but there would be an interim grading requirement allowing clubs more time to develop. Plans would need to be in place for clubs to reach full Football Conference standards.
The Football Conference (FC) would comprise of 44 clubs in two national
divisions. The 22 clubs forming the new 2nd division would be
invited from the current 3 feeder leagues. This would mean approximately
8 Southern League (SL) Premier division clubs, 7 Isthmian League (IL) Premier
division clubs and 7 Northern Premier League (NPL) Premier division clubs.
Promotion / Relegation
The Conference would relegate the same number of clubs from its 1st division as it promotes into The Football League. It would relegate up to four clubs from its 2nd division so that the promotion links enjoyed today are retained and there may also be an opportunity to instigate play offs between the three runners up and the club finishing 4th from bottom in the Conference 2nd division.
The existing SL, IL and NPL would re-align their borders. This is explored further below.
IL Premier division – made up of 10 current IL Premier division clubs, 5 SL Premier division clubs, 2 SL East division and 5 IL 1st division North / South.
SL Premier division - consisting of 9 current SL Premier division clubs, 5 IL Premier division clubs, 6 SL East / West division clubs and 2 IL 1st division North / South clubs.
NPL Premier division – consisting of 16 current NPL Premier division clubs and 6 NPL 1st division clubs
Existing divisions would remain – NPL 1st, SL East and SL West, IL North and IL South – with borders re-aligned. The number of clubs would be made up to 22 from the existing clubs and additional clubs from the current level 3 leagues.
- 22 clubs promoted to Conference status
- Re-alignment of boundaries in south
- Potentially more promotion opportunities into the new Football Conference 2nd division
- Possible introduction of play-offs for current 3 feeder leagues
- 22 additional clubs have added costs of competing in a national league
- Majority of clubs in National League System are further away from The Football League
- Boundary changes may not be agreed by leagues
- Significant change
- Play-offs at main feeder league level only involve the runner up club which does not generate interest throughout the league
- Existing senior leagues move a further step down the pyramid
- Proposal has been previously rejected by The FA in 1999
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