Non-league set for shake up as FA plans to restructure pyramid gets green light

More than 100 clubs will be promoted...

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 11:14 am
Non-league is set for a shake-up. Photo: Oliver Atkin

More than 100 clubs look set for promotions after the proposed restructuring of the non-league pyramid received the green light.

The FA Council approved the plans on Friday.

Teams eligible to be moved up to higher divisions will be decided on a points per game basis, combining results from the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, which were made null and void and curtailed respectively, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plans included the creation of an additional division at step four, along with two additional divisions at step five and a reduction of divisions, from 20 to 17, at step six.

"As part of the proposals, 110 clubs would be upwardly moved within the pyramid at steps four to six in order to facilitate the new divisions, protecting the integrity of the NLS (National League System) whilst supporting clubs with a desire and ambition to progress, without undermining the stability of the system," the FA said ion their initial announcement.

"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."

The FA want to create a 'pure pyramid' from steps three to six.

At present some divisions have differing numbers of member clubs, which means the numbers of teams facing promotion and relegation at the same step will not be equal - offering unfair advantages to some.

At step five the top three ranked clubs from each of the North West Counties League, Northern Counties East League and Northern League, along with the top ranked club from the remaining 11 step five divisions, will be considered eligible for upward movement to step four and will be invited to make an application to do so.

At step six the top two ranked clubs in each of the South West Peninsula League divisions, along with the top three ranked clubs from the 18 remaining step six divisions, will be considered eligible for upward movement to step five and will be invited to make an application for upward movement.