Back in 2013 The FA changed the rules regarding changing room sizes at Step 3 and 4 of the Non-league pyramid due to extra equipment needed by players, physio and officials. (Main photograph by Ollie Bayliss)
These rules were not enforced until a letter was sent out in October to all clubs saying that if these strict rules are not met by 31st March 2019, or the club had a written contract for subsequent work to be completed they would be automatically relegated to Step 5.
However, The Bootiful Game has learnt that up to 40 clubs at Step 3 and 4 have changing rooms not up to the required standard. The FA have said that they would fund 70% of the costings but many clubs have left it to the eleventh hour to finalise these changes.
Relegating this amount of clubs would cause mayhem to the Non-league pyramid as effectively there could be up to 40 extra promotion places from Step 5.
Clubs finishing outside the relegation zone this season who do not have the required changing room sizes at Step 4 would be relegated alongside the other two clubs in their league we are led to believe.
In the past The FA have reprieved Step 3 and 4 sides who have been in relegation places but last season they added extra promotion places back on where clubs finished in Step 5, then based these on points-per-game.
We have already seen Southern League Central Division One side Aylesbury FC confirm that they are taking relegation due to this matter – and we expect many other clubs to take the same stance in the coming weeks.
What are your thoughts, should The FA wait another year? Should clubs stop paying players whilst work is completed? Are the club’s at fault having failed for five years to get their grounds up to standard?
Let us know below or on our Social media channels.