Following a meeting of the FA Leagues Committee held earlier today club allocations for Steps 1 to 4 for Season 2013-14 have been released.
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There were some difficult decisions to make, especially at Step 4 and in particular in the Southern League South & West Division.
Due to the fact that neither the Wessex nor Western Leagues were in a position to promote a club together with the requested relegation of Sholing Sports that division was left with three spaces to fill.
This situation was not helped by the fact that no Step 3 club was relegated to that division. This has resulted in a group of three clubs, Fleet Town, Godalming Town and Guildford City, being transferred to the South & West division from the Central division. This had a knock on effect on other clubs at Step 4.
Following the aborted Step 5 Review in 2012 a commitment was made to promote more clubs from Step 5. In order to achieve this it was also agreed that the Step 3 divisions would increase to 24 clubs and that the two Isthmian League Step 4 divisions would do likewise. This has resulted in 17 clubs being promoted from Step 5.
Of these 17, Guernsey become the first Channel Island club to compete in the upper levels of the league structure following their second successive promotion. They have been allocated to the Isthmian League Division 1 South and it will be interesting to note if the club can continue its meteoric rise.
The increase in the numbers promoted is obviously a one-off and in future 14 clubs will be eligible for promotion compared to the previous 12.
In Step 1, two reformed clubs have made it to the top level with Chester and FC Halifax Town regaining the positions help by their predecessors.
At Step 2 it has been possible to re-allocate Bishops Stortford to Conference South. This Step also sees Concord Rangers, Gosport Borough, Leamington, North Ferriby United and Whitehawk, making their debuts in the second tier of the “pyramid”.
As in previous years, there are a number of issues that may yet impact of these allocations and therefore they remain subject to change until the dates of the AGMs of the four competitions.