One third of clubs across country against Step 5 proposals

THE FA will hear on Monday the strength of opposition to its proposals to reorganise football at Step 5 across the country.

The sub-committee of the FA Leagues Committee will meet to consider feedback which has been received since the proposals were unveiled earlier this year, and also to decide what recommendation to make to the Leagues Committee.

It is understood around one-third of the 287 clubs affected nationwide have registered their disapproval at the original proposals put forward by the FA, which is seeking to reduce the number of Step 5 leagues from 14 down to 12 from 2013/14 onwards.

The Eastern Counties League, sponsored by Ridgeons, would be ripped apart under the controversial proposals, making it one of the worst affected.

The original FA proposals would see 14 Ridgeons League Premier Division clubs joined in a new Eastern Division by 11 clubs from the United Counties League.

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The remaining seven clubs – four east Suffolk sides and three from Essex – would join the 17 clubs currently in the Essex Senior League plus one other to form a new London North East Division.

Only six of its 21 Premier Division clubs – CRC, Diss Town, Ely City, Mildenhall Town, Newmarket Town and Wisbech Town – supported the original FA proposals.

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Although Eastern Counties League officials have remained impartial, Ridgeons League secretary Nigel Spurling has said the league supported the Step 5/6 Review.

The league believed the reduction in the number of Step 5 divisions would be “for the greater good of the game” in England.

Following discussions with member clubs the Ridgeons League has submitted an alternative suggestion, which 16 clubs – 76 per cent – are in favour of and just five against.

Elsewhere opposition to the FA proposals is even stronger with 86 per cent of clubs in the Combined Counties League against, and both the Sussex League and United Counties League believed to be 100 per cent against.

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