Possible no side will be relegated

RIDGEONS League secretary Nigel Spurling has confirmed that it is possible that no team will be relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the season.

Elvin King

RIDGEONS League secretary Nigel Spurling has confirmed that it is possible that no team will be relegated from the Premier Division at the end of the season.

Whitton United have already withdrawn from the division, while runaway leaders Lowestoft Town have applied to move up to step four and Tiptree United are exploring the possibility of moving sideways to the Essex Senior League.

“We have a policy of promoting three clubs each year from the First Division,” said Spurling. “And if we are three teams short of our 22 limit in the summer then it might mean that no one will go down.”


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Woodbridge Town are currently third from bottom of the Premier Division, and they will be able to breathe a bit easier at the news.

Needham Market, Tiptree and Leiston have all joined Lowestoft in applying to move up to a step four league that will be decided by the Football Association.

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Rules state that only one can go, although Tiptree could have their sideways move to fellow step five Essex Senior League sanctioned by the FA in the summer.

It is believed that Tiptree see an easier path up to the Ryman League through the Senior League with the Ridgeons League currently being dominated by big budget clubs in north Suffolk like Lowestoft, Kirkley and Leiston.

Two Premier League clubs have still to complete work to pass the new ground regulations that have to be in place by the end of this month.

But Spurling is confident that they will and that no club will have to be 'forcibly' relegated to step six.

“One has to put a few extra seats in to take them up to 100, while another has to complete a rail around their pitch,” he said.

It is believed that in other parts of the country things are not so far forward with a number of step five leagues in danger of being re-graded to step six.

Spurling said that Whitton - the one club that would have had serious problems in reaching the new ground standards and withdrew earlier this year - have formally applied to join Division One in 2009/10.

And with Framlingham Town (Metaltec SIL) and Team Bury (Border League) having applied to move up from their current step seven status, the Ridgeons First Division would make up for the three sides promoted.

Framlingham and Team Bury must finish in the top three of their respective leagues, and there is no guarantee they would move to the Ridgeons. The FA makes the decision and could allocate them to another step six league, however unlikely.

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