Local clubs will fight the FA’s restructuring proposals

SUSSEX County League clubs will join together to fight The FA’s proposals of restructuring at Step 5 of the pyramid.

A meeting was held last Wednesday between all Division 1 clubs and the Sussex County Football League and its officials, where the 20 clubs all voted unanimously to try to block the move.

Proposed plans by The FA sees them wanting to reduced the number of Step 5 divisions nationally from 14 to 12 at the start of the 2012/13 season to help solve possible promotion/relegation issues.

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The SCFL is, under the plans, one of the worst affected and would see Division 1 being split into three different leagues, and for most of our local clubs would severely increase away travel and costs.

The league committee had already spoken of their plans to fight the plans which they feel would, ultimately, end with the demise of the league.

They have now been boosted by the backing of the clubs, as most are also firmly against the plans.

Sussex County League chairman Peter Bentley said: “We agreed as a council to rubber-stamp our plans to try to stop the FA’s changes to Step 5.

“All 20 of the Division 1 clubs were then sent a very simple circular and every one of them has signed it to say they want to remain in the Sussex County FA. That will be sent off to the the FA and a few other places shortly.”

Bentley believes that some Division 1 clubs would opt to drop down to Step 6 rather then incur these crippling extra costs. And he is adamant the changes are totally unnecessary, calling the plans “the biggest case of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut he had ever seen”.

The FA is currently carrying out its final consultations on its National League System – Step 5/6 review and insist no final decision has yet been made.

With the vast majority of Step 5 leagues in favour of the changes, it does however look set to be pushed through, though Bentley has vowed to battle hard.

He said: “I truly hope it’s not a futile fight, we’ll keep going right until the last day. I would like to think we have the possibility of overturning the decision, I need to believe that because otherwise I won’t be doing right by my clubs.”

The FA say its review of Step 6 will also be carried out in the coming months.