Changes to Non League System
While Blues will be looking to get out of the Evo-Stik Southern League at the first attempt, our stay in the competition looks to be a short one, with the FA due to announce major changes to the Non League System (NLS).
The Vanarama National League will remain unchanged, but from the 2018/19 season there will be a fourth step 3 division – the level the Blue Brazil now play at – feeding it and a seventh step 4 division. To put it simply, the NLS will change from 1-2-3-6-14 to 1-2-4-7-14.
The new – and currently unnamed – division will be governed by the Southern League and will cover the midlands. While it’s impossible to predict the constitutions in a year time, it’s highly likely that Blues will find themselves in the new division.
As part of the changes the number of clubs in each step 3 division will be cut from 24 to 22 clubs, and the step 4 divisions will have only 20 clubs in each. The new step 4 division will be administered by the Isthmian League, leading to a rather odd looking non-league pyramid.
With 16 vacancies at step 3 in the new system, there will be only one club relegated from the Southern League Premier Division – and it’s NPL and Isthmian counterparts – in 2017/18. There will also be one extra promotion place for each of the six step 4 divisions with details of how the 88th, and final, spot yet to be announced.
Details of promotion between steps 2 and 3 have also yet to be announced – the decision basically hinging on whether the National League is willing to agree to four down from each of its lower divisions – and between the step 3 and 4 divisions.