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Dave Deacon

LEAGUE RESTRUCTURE UPDATE

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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.

 

LEAGUE RESTRUCTURE UPDATE WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR ALL CLUBS AND PLAYERS TO READ TO HELP FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS HAPPENING NEXT SEASON ............

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
 
 
CLOSING DATE FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST IS 31ST DECEMBER 2018.

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8 minutes ago, Rob1978 said:

So will promotion from step 6 be mandatory?? A bit confusing. This all seems a bit contradictory.

it doesn't say it is mandatory but it does say there will be a penalty at the jurisdiction of the NLS if a club refuses promotion.

Dependent on the penalty it might not be viable for a West Cornwall club to take it's place at step 6 if there is a chance they might win it! Especially as there is no mention of any help for geographically disadvantaged clubs from the FA.

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Promotion to Step 5 is mandatory! However, the National Leagues Committee will listen to the reasons that a Club, which is the Champion of a Step 6 League, feels it would be unable to take the promotion. The ultimate penalty for failing to accept promotion is relegation to Step 7. There will be no compulsion for Clubs finishing 2nd, 3rd, or possibly lower, to take the place of the Champion Club but they would still be able to apply for promotion.

 

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5 minutes ago, John Mead said:

Promotion to Step 5 is mandatory! However, the National Leagues Committee will listen to the reasons that a Club, which is the Champion of a Step 6 League, feels it would be unable to take the promotion. The ultimate penalty for failing to accept promotion is relegation to Step 7. There will be no compulsion for Clubs finishing 2nd, 3rd, or possibly lower, to take the place of the Champion Club but they would still be able to apply for promotion.

 

So a club has to throw it self at the mercy of the FA! We know how that will end! The FA want a one size fits all policy and that's that.

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Just now, A Fan said:

So a club has to throw itself at the mercy of the FA! We know how that will end! The FA want a one size fits all policy and that's that.

Indeed, that's the way they would like it to be BUT they have been made fully aware of the unique geographic situation of Clubs in Cornwall - particularly the far west - and are willing to make concessions   if a good case is made.

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8 hours ago, John Mead said:

Promotion to Step 5 is mandatory! However, the National Leagues Committee will listen to the reasons that a Club, which is the Champion of a Step 6 League, feels it would be unable to take the promotion. The ultimate penalty for failing to accept promotion is relegation to Step 7. There will be no compulsion for Clubs finishing 2nd, 3rd, or possibly lower, to take the place of the Champion Club but they would still be able to apply for promotion.

 

What happened to the suggestion John that clubs not wanting promotion would be able to write in their reasons by the 31st March stating why it wouldn’t be viable to take promotion?

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John, will the new SWPL Super Divisions be a maximum of 20 or 22 sides, and the new Cornwall Senior League made up of 16 sides? Will the new Cornwall Senior League be fixed at 16 sides or will it perhaps be increased to say 18 or even 20 sides if it proves popular and clubs clamour to join it. Finally what happened to the proposal that the SWPL run the new Cornwall Senior League, not happening or for a future date maybe?

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Clubs in Cornwall may be disadvantaged geographically, but many leading sides pay more in wages than step six clubs up the country. If a club can prove it genuinely can’t afford the move up fair enough, but if it refuses promotion because it wants to carry on paying the same players £100 or so a game, to keep winning the same league over and over, then the Fa would be quite right to punish them. Some clubs have the wrong priorities. Also step 5 guarantees Fa cup participation. With the extra prize money available, promotion is surely much less of a gamble. Parkway have earned £11000 so far!

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There are clubs in the Western premier that have no playing budget. In step 5 leagues up country players often pay subs.   A club can show its end of year accounts to the Fa and if promotion isn’t viable, I’m sure it wouldn’t be enforced. However if a club can afford to go up, then it should do. That’s what the pyramid is meant to be about. Clubs can always organise their own league outside the pyramid if they wish. In fact rugby clubs in Lancashire are doing just that. Maybe swpl should be split into two leagues, one for clubs who want to be part of the pyramid, and one for clubs who don’t. 

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56 minutes ago, cornishteddyboy said:

John, will the new SWPL Super Divisions be a maximum of 20 or 22 sides, and the new Cornwall Senior League made up of 16 sides? Will the new Cornwall Senior League be fixed at 16 sides or will it perhaps be increased to say 18 or even 20 sides if it proves popular and clubs clamour to join it. Finally what happened to the proposal that the SWPL run the new Cornwall Senior League, not happening or for a future date maybe?

I understand John is meant to be on his holidays – so I have had a response from another SWPL source well versed in the build-up to this restructure project.

1) Steps 5 & 6 are now set at Max of 20 by the FA

2) Step 7 (floodlights not reqd) is set at a Max of 16 by the FA, the SWPL even had to have permission for their Div 1 East to run over number this season knowing the structure was changing.

3) It’s thought the “write in by March 31st” was a specific instruction and will be in the much longer rules & regs of the new structure – the letter was written by the FA to send to clubs in 9 different divisions (SWP plus 6 feeders) and is not a rule book as such, lots of finer details will be added as the 3 leagues set or alter rules.

4) Re the new proposed Step 7 Cornwall League - the CCFA have been very clear (more so than Devon) that they are looking at help setting it up and letting the new people run with it. That said both John Mead for Grounds and Phil Hiscox from a Rules/Admin systems view have offered any help to BOTH County League new committees in terms of help & support, but not to “run them”

I hope this helps. I’ve also been in touch with the Cornwall FA and hoping they will come back to me today with confirmation of queries raised so far.

 

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Dave - Is the border fixed at the Tamar, or could we see a club like Saltash, for example, placed in the east division? With Buckland, Parkway and possibly Tavi going up, most current step 6 sides are Cornish. Leagues could be quite unbalanced, although I guess this would open the door for Devon clubs to go up, if they wish. Thanks

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Although there is no hard border division line (unlike the FA Rep at the meeting I went to said it was going to be) the two Step 6 South West Peninsula League divisions will consist of one being the East division - predominately covering Devon, and the West division - mainly consisting of clubs from Cornwall.

This way it leaves it possible for the Step 6 League covering Devon and Cornwall football to mix if necessary for the keeping the even numbers etc.

 

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Sixteen step 5 leagues. I’m no geographical expert but Penzance up to Gloucestershire/Wiltshire is far more than one sixteenth of England area wise. If clubs are going to be subject to mandatory  promotion at step 6 anyway, wouldn’t it have been better to push for the current swpl (possibly including parts of Somerset ) to be given step 5 status. Cup results would suggest that the teams are good enough. Extra fa cup revenue would help clubs grow and develop facilities.

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2 hours ago, cornishteddyboy said:

Finally what happened to the proposal that the SWPL run the new Cornwall Senior League, not happening or for a future date maybe?

The same could be asked of the interest shown by the Cornwall Combination guys to get involved running it?

The other question is of course - why does there have to be any Step 7 League introduced anyway?

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Well - what a load of rubbish. Statements like all clubs must get the ground grading for the step they play in, if not relegation. It is so easy to by pass the system, because the FA are not in the business of destroying clubs. Those that have been to Western league Clubs, step 5, will know that many do not even comply with step 6 ground gradings and yet no movement by the FA has ever demoted people. Don't assume that all leagues are as honest as the SWPL when it comes to gradings. If the FA really implemented this the clubs at step 5 would be drained over night. At the end of the day, if a club finishes top and does not want promotion then a politically correct worded letter to the FA will release the club from the promotion. Or a rather silly situation would take place, a club would get promoted to step 5, not do the work on the ground by the following March 31st, therefor getting placed back in step 6 where they want to be. You could drive a coach and horses through all the recommendations, its all, if's, but's and maybe's. But they will go ahead with it, as was demonstrated at the meeting in June, the FA simply do not understand 'local' football. It was probably all thought up those young, degree entrant people at the FA who have no experience in football at all, but just look at computers.

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For me the main problem will be who will run the new Step 7? I understand that CCFA will ask for "Volunteers":however, most Leagues in Cornwall

are struggling to get people to administer their set-ups( the Duchy League still can't get a Secretary!)To run these Leagues people have to be retired-YET...

CCFA have FULL TIME PAID OFFICERS-why can't they run it? as,presumably, it is them rather than the Leagues that want this new set-up.

 

"CAVEAT EMPTOR" !!!!

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5 hours ago, Dave Deacon said:

The same could be asked of the interest shown by the Cornwall Combination guys to get involved running it?

The other question is of course - why does there have to be any Step 7 League introduced anyway?

If there was no Step 7 League, no clubs could be promoted to Step 6!

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9 hours ago, Dave Deacon said:

I understand John is meant to be on his holidays – so I have had a response from another SWPL source well versed in the build-up to this restructure project.

1) Steps 5 & 6 are now set at Max of 20 by the FA

2) Step 7 (floodlights  not reqd) is set at a Max of 16 by the FA, the SWPL even had to have permission for their Div 1 East to run over number this season knowing the structure was changing.

3) It’s thought the “write in by March 31st” was a specific instruction and will be in the much longer rules & regs of the new structure – the letter was written by the FA to send to clubs in 9 different divisions (SWP plus 6 feeders) and is not a rule book as such, lots of finer details will be added as the 3 leagues set or alter rules.

4) Re the new proposed Step 7 Cornwall League - the CCFA have been very clear (more so than Devon) that they are looking at help setting it up and letting the new people run with it. That said both John Mead for Grounds and Phil Hiscox from a Rules/Admin systems view have offered any help to BOTH County League new committees in terms of help & support, but not to “run them”

I hope this helps. I’ve also been in touch with the Cornwall FA and hoping they will come back to me today with confirmation of queries raised so far.

 

No hope of cornwall fa getting back to ANYONE !

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On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 11:26, Adlestrop said:

For me the main problem will be who will run the new Step 7? I understand that CCFA will ask for "Volunteers":however, most Leagues in Cornwall

are struggling to get people to administer their set-ups( the Duchy League still can't get a Secretary!)To run these Leagues people have to be retired-YET...

CCFA have FULL TIME PAID OFFICERS-why can't they run it? as,presumably, it is them rather than the Leagues that want this new set-up.

 

"CAVEAT EMPTOR" !!!!

Just what do these paid officials do to justify their huge salaries ?

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Seems like clubs are being invited to express an interest in applying for the new step 6 and 7 league set-up. Realistically could teams from below the current Trelawny Premier division express an interest knowing that they would meet the grading criteria for their grounds? 

A few reserve teams of SWPL clubs are in the so called junior leagues at present. As mentioned above, it's all rather confusing at present. Best of luck to everyone involved in the administration of all this!

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Spending a few hours this weekend with Cornwall FA Richard Pallot who has offered to answer any queries on the FA Restructure .

Please post questions here for me to put to him on your behalf.

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5 hours ago, Dave Deacon said:

Spending a few hours this weekend with Cornwall FA Richard Pallot who has offered to answer any queries on the FA Restructure .

Please post questions here for me to put to him on your behalf.

That will be waste of time .

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3 hours ago, BIG AL said:

That will be waste of time .

Your positivity bowls me over BIG AL 👍

As for everyone else, presumably everyone is happy with knowing what is going on come the end of this year - December 2018.

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Are the FA actually going to follow through with their “threat” to demote clubs failing to meet the ground grading requirements. They have bottled it so many times before that they make themselves look stupid (if a little realistic though). What’s the point of rules if they are ignored? They certainly enforce other rules with vigour.

 

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