New Non-league promotion & relegation rulings have not gone down well – and Gary Neville leads the angst!

The FA confirmed the new promotion and relegation procedures for the 2018/19 season and to say it’s not gone down well is an understatement.

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!

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