Promotion and Relegation changes for Season 2018/19 – Steps 2-3-4-5-6-7

FA Statement

The NLS regulations for 2018/19 have been published and outline how promotion and relegation will apply at the end of next season.

The addition of an extra league at steps 3 and 4 of the non-league pyramid means that there have been certain adjustments made to the National League Systems regulations as to how promotion and relegation matters will apply at the end of the 2018/19 campaign and these are outlined below –

Between Step 2 and Step 3

The Clubs in the bottom three places in each of the two divisions (National League North & South) at Step 2 at the end of the Regular Season will be relegated to a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate Division at Step 3 for the following playing Season.

They will be replaced by the Clubs finishing in 1st position in each of the four divisions at Step 3 together with a further two Clubs determined by a series of Play Off Matches.

In each Division at Step 3, the Play Off Matches shall be played so that the highest placed of the eligible Clubs plays against the lowest placed and the other two Clubs play each other, so it will probably be 2 v 5 and 3 v 4 (the “Step 3 Initial Play Off Matches”);.

The winners of each of the Step 3 Initial Play Off Matches will play each other, resulting in one winner in each of the four Step 3 divisions (the “Step 3 Divisional Play Off Winners”).

The Step 3 Divisional Play Off Winners will play a further match against each other. The ties will be decided by the Committee pairing Clubs on the most suitable geographical basis.

The ties will be played on a single match basis with the home Club being the Club with the best points per match ratio in the Regular Season.

If there are only three eligible Clubs then the highest placed shall receive a bye to a second match where it will play the winner of the other Play Off Match and the winner of that match will play in the further Play Off Match described above. Clubs finishing below position 7 will not be considered for Play Off Matches.

The promoted Clubs will be placed in a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 2.

In short, 6 go down from Step 2 as normal, the 4 League winners go up, then Play-Offs will decide 4 more teams that will play each other to produce 2 teams to also go up.

Step 3 and Step 4

The Clubs in the bottom three places in each of the four divisions at Step 3 at the end of the Regular Season will be relegated to a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 4 for the following Playing Season.

They will be replaced by the Club finishing in 1st position in each of the seven divisions at Step 4 together with a further five Clubs to be determined by a series of Play Off Matches.

In each division at Step 4, The Play Off Matches shall be played so that the highest placed of the eligible Clubs plays against the lowest placed and the other two Clubs play each other (the “Step 4 Initial Play Off Matches”).

The winners of each of the Step 4 Initial Play Off Matches will play each other and the winner of those matches shall result in seven teams eligible for promotion.

The five Clubs to be promoted shall be the five Clubs out of the seven divisional Play Off winners with the best points per match ratio in the Regular Season.

If there are only three eligible Clubs then the highest placed shall receive a bye to a second match where it will play the winner of the other Play Off Match and the winner of that match will be promoted. Clubs finishing below position 7 will not be considered for Play Off Matches.

The promoted Clubs will be placed in a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 3.

In short, 2 Play-Off winners will not go up from step 4!

I cannot help but think there will be changes to these rules as some lower placed teams will enter the Step 4 play-offs knowing there is absolutely no chance of gaining promotion even if they win their games.

At Step 5 there are 14 Leagues and only the winners will be promoted. This would mean that at Step 4 the bottom two of each of the 7 Divisions would go down.

The bottom 2 teams will be relegated from Step 5 and be replaced by the 19 winners of the Step 6 Leagues. The remaining 9 places will go to the best Second Placed teams in terms of Points Per Game.

This is not ideal and will prevent Leagues like SCEFL from running their own Play-Off system.

Step 7 promotion is even more complicated due to Ground Grading requirements. Clubs must have applied by the end of the Year and met the criteria to have a chance of going up.
Only one club can be promoted from each of the 45 Leagues but with only 38 places on offer we could again be looking at PPG for promotion.

It is certainly going to be a confusing run-in to the Season come next April! I will keep close to it and update progress on here and the SCEFL Website as things progress. But until we get the perfect Pyramid of 1-2-4-8-16 Leagues, then there will always be issues.

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