We have received the below statement from The FA. Many of you will also have seen this in the media this morning.
Subject to FA Council approval, this will provide a ‘fix’ for promotion of clubs from Step 5 to Step 4.
For too many years Step 5 to Step 4 promotion in The National League System has been the only level with just a single club guaranteed of actual promotion. The UHL has continually brought this to the attention of The FA.
For the last and this current season, an inter-Step play-off system has been introduced to allow the Step 5 Champion Club, and the winner of the Inter-Step playoff, to be placed into Step 4 for the following season.
With this proposal, at the end of next season 2023 to 2024 there is a change and there will be two promotions from Step 5, our Premier Division. The Champion Club, and the winner of the play-offs from the next four clubs. Similar to the way it now happens in our Division One at Step 6.
I hope that you will all agree that this is good progress.
The Full FA announcement is below.
The full text can also be found at: https://www.thefa.com/news/2023/mar/17/step-5-to-4-update
Subject to FA Council approval, the Inter-Step Play-Offs currently in place at Steps 4 and 5 of the National League System (NLS) are to be replaced after the 2022/23 season.
The change will see the introduction of a traditional four-team Play-Off in each of the sixteen Step 5 divisions – thus guaranteeing a second promotion place from Step 5 to Step 4, subject to Clubs meeting the eligibility criteria which includes an independent ground grading assessment.
At the end of the 2023/24 season, this will mean that an additional 16 Clubs will be guaranteed promotion from Step 5 to Step 4 (32 Clubs in total), with the number of Clubs relegated from each of the eight Step 4 divisions to remain as two in order to increase the divisional size at Step 4 to 22 Clubs per division. The resulting 16 vacancies at Step 5 will be filled by only relegating one Club per Step 5 division, as opposed to two.
From the 2024/25 season, it is intended that the number of Clubs automatically relegated from each of the eight Step 4 divisions to Step 5 will increase from two to four, two Clubs from each of the sixteen Step 5 divisions will continue to be promoted to Step 4 (one automatic and one via the Play-Off) and the number of clubs automatically relegated from each Step 5 division will revert to two.
These changes reflect a long-term aim of The FA to create consistency at each Step level of the NLS pyramid.