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Dave Deacon


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Any questions - please direct them towards the appropriate parties listed at the end of the message. It’s important as soon as possible for everyone to be fully aware of what is going to happen.



The FA has now released the following proposals and the next steps for clubs currently at Step 6, Step 7 and within relevant feeder leagues with regards to the forthcoming restructuring.
Clubs must confirm their interest, regardless of the level of football currently competing at to be able to compete at Step 6 or Step 7 in 2019/20 season.

National League System Step 6 & 7 – South West England
You will be aware that over the last twelve months discussions have been taking place between the Devon County Football Association, Cornwall County Football Association, South West Peninsula League, Devon & Exeter League and the Football Association as to what would be the best structure to support and develop  senior football in the South West.
The view of all representatives is that the new structure must provide the opportunity for those clubs who wish to progress in the National League System, whilst at the same time retaining the highest possible level of football for those clubs who through geographical or financial constraint wish to remain within a more localised structure.
The purpose of this letter is to
1. Outline the proposals that have emerged from the stakeholder discussions
2. Seek expressions of interest from clubs who wish to play at Step six or seven of the National League System
National League System
The National League System is a unique pyramid of leagues that links the grassroots game at Step seven to the professional game at Step one. For the pyramid to operate successfully and to provide the fluidity between the various steps  there is  mandatory promotion and relegation through Steps one to six as defined in the National League System regulations.
As a club in the National League System it is important to note that promotion and relegation is to the Step level and not a league as the placement of clubs is the sole responsibility of the Football Association.
All clubs that compete in the National League System must attain the required ground grading criteria for the Step that they play at, failure to do so will result in relegation.
The Football Association has publicly stated its vision that by season 2020/21 the National League System will be a “pure pyramid” from Steps one to six based on one division at Step one, two divisions at Step two, four divisions at Step three, eight divisions at Step four, sixteen divisions at Step five and sixteen or twenty four divisions at Step six.
The South West Proposals
Following a series of stakeholder meetings, including meeting with clubs at designated club meetings or league AGMs, the feedback and views of all parties has been given very careful consideration by all of the stakeholders.
The stakeholders agreed that the objectives of any possible review were:-
1. To retain and develop a high level of senior football in Devon and Cornwall that is financially sustainable, encourages growth and provides opportunity for ambitious clubs.
2. To provide the opportunity for clubs to progress to Step five and for clubs at Step five to return to Step six. Over a period of time with increased promotion and relegation between step six and five it will improve the geographical landscape and movement between Step six and five will become more attainable.
3. Provide a competitive Step six competition for clubs in Cornwall whilst recognising that westerly clubs, particularly in Cornwall” may not go up due to the geography of the region and the associated financial impact may prevent promotion for some to Step five, however with increased movement between Step six and five in Devon over a period of time the number of clubs wishing to be prompted to Step five may well increase.
4. To provide  robust and sustainable Step seven competitions that will see promotion and relegation to Step six leagues in the south-west.
5. To retain a structure that will enable clubs to compete in FA Competitions and to access Football Stadia Improvement Grants from the Football Foundation.
6. That any changes to the current structure should  not disadvantage any clubs
The Proposals
1. The South West Peninsula League will run two Step six divisions (“the East division will predominately cover Devon and the West division mainly Cornwall”).  The Champion Club of both Step six divisions  will be promoted to Step five. Any Club failing to accept promotion will be in breach of National League System regulations and any penalty in respect of the clubs position in the NLS will be subject to the jurisdiction of the FA Leagues Committee.
2. The Cornwall Football Association will initially set up and run a Step seven league with a view to it becoming independent with the right structure and coordinators in the future.
3. The Devon Football Association will run two Step seven divisions (one in the south and central, one in the north and east). This is subject to enough clubs expressing interest in playing at step seven.
4. The proposal is that the new structure will be implemented for the start of the 2019/20 season with the promotion structure being applied from 2020/21 season.
5. Clubs who do not meet the required ground grading criteria for either Step six or seven will be required to sign an undertaking that full compliance will be achieved by 31st March in the second season of joining a league. Failure to meet the ground grading requirement will result in relegation.
What do you need to do as a club
As a club irrespective of which league you are currently a member of it is of vital importance that if you wish to be considered for membership of the new Step six or Step seven leagues you submit a written expression of interest along with your current ground grading classification by email to Laurence Jones, Head of National League System, at NLS@thefa.com by 31st December 2018. This is a requirement for all clubs even if you are currently playing in a step six or step seven league.
If you have questions or further enquiries as a result of this letter please can you make contact
Step Six Divisions - Devon and Cornwall -  to Mr P Hiscox, Company Secretary, South West Peninsula League 45a Serge Court, The Quay Exeter Devon EX2 4EB
Step Seven Division  – Devon FA – to Mr P Morrison Chief Executive Devon County FA Coach Rd Newton Abbot Devon TQ12 1EJ
Step Seven League  – Cornwall FA- To Mrs D Aberdeen Chief Executive Cornwall FA Kernow House 15 Callywith Gate Launceston Rd Bodmin Cornwall PL31 2RQ

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