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Step 4 Restructure

The restructuring of the non-league pyramid at Step 4 has entered another period of uncertainty; members of the Unibond Northern Premier League objecting to the FA’s decision for two divisions of 18 feeding into the Premier division. The following statement has been issued by the Northern Premier League this week:

’The UniBond League is hopeful it has taken the sting out of the controversy on restructuring following the recent decision of the FA’s League Committee that the League would operate with two regional First Divisions each of 18 clubs for season 2007/8. At a meeting held on Sunday the League Management Committee reached agreement on a way forward and this was supported later that day by the member clubs at a Special Meeting.

The good news is that the UniBond League endorses its support for a 1,2,3,6 structure with the League having two regional First Divisions of 22 clubs each to give it parity with the Isthmian and Southern Leagues.

In the spirit of co-operation and to demonstrate its will towards achieving this final objective the League has, as an initial measure, agreed to accept the decision of the FA League’s Committee that UniBond League shall have two regional First Divisions of 18 clubs each for season 2007/8 as it sees this as the right way forward in the development of the structure. However, the League recognises that the future constitution of the UniBond League is still of paramount importance and therefore, as a condition of acceptance, it is seeking from the FA by 14th May a written assurance that the constitution of the UniBond League will increase to two First Divisions of 20 clubs for season 2008/9 with a further increase to two Divisions of 22 clubs each by 2009/10 or no later than 2010/11.

The UniBond League is also asking the FA for agreement in principle to (1) supplement what would normally be a 34 match fixture programme with an additional 8 games to be compiled in a format yet to be agreed by member clubs and (2) for the League to be in a position to allocate, both numerically and geographically, the total of at least 36 clubs who will comprise the two UniBond League regional First Divisions taking in to account the views of member clubs.

Whilst disappointed that, at this stage, it has only been allocated Divisions of 18 clubs the UniBond League remains hopeful the League’s Committee can still see its way forward to increasing these numbers to 2x20 for season 2007/8 as it does not consider it is yet too late. The UniBond League is pleased that the expectations of the extra clubs promoted from the North West Counties League, Northern Counties East League, Midland Football Alliance and the Northern League have been met and are of the view that there still remains an ideal opportunity for similar benefits to be applied to clubs in the higher promotion positions in Southern based Step 5 competitions.

The UniBond League will not be making any further comments until a response is received from the Football Association.’

When the FA were contacted this week they confirmed that they are aware of the objections but insisted that the restructure will go through as planned. The final make up of the new divisions, and whether they will be on a North/South or an East/West split will be announced after a meeting of the FA League Committee on May 14th.

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First Posted ~ 15:50 Fri 27 Apr 2007
News ID ~ 961
Last Updated ~ 17:14 Fri 11 Oct 2013