Hill Farm Lane, home of Binfield FC. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Hill Farm Lane, home of Binfield FC. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

FA to revisit non-league restructure plans on hold since summer 2020

The end of the 2019/20 season was supposed to see a major shake-up of the non-league football pyramid
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Hill Farm Lane, home of Binfield FC. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com
Hill Farm Lane, home of Binfield FC. Photo: Neil Graham / ngsportsphotography.com

The end of the 2019/20 season was supposed to see the birth of a ‘Thames Valley Super League’ at step 5 of the English Football Pyramid.

Unfortunately, as we’re all well aware, that season was declared null and void, and while we await decisions on the 2020/21 season, there is still the small matter of that non-league football restructure which had been put on hold.

The idea behind the restructure was to geographically equalise the pyramid at all levels in to a 1-2-4-8-16 with an additional division being added to the North East at step 4 and two at step 5 – one being within the footprint of the Cherry Red Records Combined Counties League.

That new division would take in a host of clubs across Berkshire, but will it happen in 2021? The FA has issued a statement after a query from Football in Berkshire: “It has also been decided that, subject to FA Council’s decision regarding the curtailment of the season at Steps 3 to 6, both committees will revisit discussions around a potential restructure at Steps 4-6 of the NLS, which was previously agreed and has been on hold since the 2019-20 season. A further update on this will be provided in due course.”

That line was part of a longer statement on what is happening around the conclusion or continuation of the season at steps 3-6 which you can read here.

Related: How the English Football Pyramid system works – step by step

‘Hope they’ll do it this summer’

Speaking to the Maidenhead Advertiser’s Daniel Darlington last week, Windsor boss Mark Cooper expressed his hope that the FA would do the reorganisation over the summer of 2021 rather than delaying it again.

The Royalists boss said: “There’s talk of there being a Thames Valley Premier League. It would see us play teams that are more in our region, rather than travelling to Gloucestershire and other areas.

“The hope is they’ll do that this summer. They said last year that regardless of what happened this season, that was the plan. If they go ahead with that it will be much better for us. There would be a lot more local games, which is what everyone wants.”

What’s the restructure all about?

Ahead of summer 2020, FiB produced an in depth guide to what was likely to happen at all levels of the pyramid concerned with the reorganisation. While the dates on the pieces are incorrect – referring to changes in effect post 2019/20 – the information is correct.

There is also an additional and excellent explainer in the Non League Paper website here.

Would you like to see the restructure happen in 2021, or should it wait until it can be decided on sporting merit? Let us know in the comments below.

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