FA Restructure Proposals

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Details of Proposals for Restructuring of Non-League Football

Proposals Issued by the FA during January 2001


Those who read a recent article in the Non-League Paper may have seen details of proposals put forward by the English FA for the possible restructuring of the English Non-League Pyramid, which defines the hierarchy of leagues that exist from the Nationwide Conference downwards.

Currently, none of the proposals are being officially favoured by the FA, but five possible options have been detailed and published by the FA to all Non-League clubs, so that each club can provide their own feedback and views on the situation.

The following summary and the five options that are detailed have been penned by the FA, and therefore the Advantages and Disadvantages listed are the opinion of the FA, and not necessarily that of Ciderspace. However, the information that follows may help to establish supporters opinions.

Fairly shortly, Ciderspace will be providing a survey feedback form that will be used to collate supporters views. We will provide a summary of the results to Yeovil Town Football Club to give them a greater awareness of supporters opinions in this area. Until then, read on. If you have any opinions on the proposals, then why not express them on the Ciderspace Mailing List, the Non-League Mailing List or the Ciderspace Fans Forum.

Details of Proposals for Restructure

Enclosed in this pack are details of five of the options available for restructuring the National League System. There have been many proposals put forward and these are a summary of those which we currently feel are realistic and achievable. You may agree with many aspects of one proposal and you may feel that a part of one proposal would best fit with a part of another. You will be given an opportunity to provide this feedback in a detailed questionnaire which you will receive shortly. The aim through this process is to develop the current system. This may involve change and in any re-organisation there will be some clubs that are disadvantaged. However, the primary aim is that we are better prepared for the future and have a stronger structure than previously. With your help and guidance we hope to improve football at this level by developing a stronger National League System.

We have already developed Level 3 and Level 4 workgroups where representatives of those leagues have had an opportunity to discuss the proposals for restructure. We have listened, and continue to listen, to all the views that have been presented and we have adjusted our initial proposal in response to many of the concerns that have been raised.

It is not possible to say exactly what would happen to your club in each of the scenarios because things are constantly changing. We have attempted to give an indication of what could happen, but this is only intended to help your understanding and the possible impact on your club.

This summary takes into account the re-structuring of the Isthmian League which will be effective from the beginning of season 2002/03.

In those proposals which introduce play-offs for promotion, the main reason for this is to create more opportunity for those clubs wishing to progress. Currently, only one club in each of the feeder leagues is promoted and as often occurs, many clubs after a poor start lose the chance of gaining promotion. In the proposals where play-offs are introduced, it is anticipated that this would help to create much more excitement for clubs and spectators. Promotional play-offs would also help to retain interest throughout the season for many more clubs.

In the proposals that re-align boundaries, promoted and relegated clubs would move into ‘feeder pools’ and would then be allocated to the most appropriate league. This is in order to maintain the principles that clubs should be allocated to leagues on a geographical basis. However, there would be a commitment made to any club that it would not be required to move leagues more than once in every 3 years unless the club requested to do so.

There are many positive things that can be done within the National League System regardless of the restructure. For example, it is hoped to address many of the concerns surrounding ground grading requirements and to develop a consistent rule book which covers the whole of the National League System.

The Five Proposals In Detail

  • Proposal A : New Second National Conference Division
  • Proposal B : New Conference With Two Regional Divisions
  • Proposal C : Two New Regional Divisions Beneath The Conference
  • Proposal D : Retain Existing Structure But With Realligned Boundaries
  • Proposal E : No Change

This Page Produced By Martin Baker
Using information © The FA
©Ciderspace 2002
Last Updated 1st February 2002

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