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Clubs from the Kent Invicta League and Southern Counties East League give go-ahead to merger

By KentOnline reporter

The Kent Invicta League is set to merge with the Southern Counties East League – just five seasons after it was formed.

Clubs from both leagues have given plans to merge in time for the 2016-17 season the go-ahead in the past fortnight.

Denise Richmond, chairman of both leagues, welcomed the move which will now go to the FA Leagues Committee for approval.

2014/15 Kent Invicta League champions Hollands & Blair Picture: Steve Crispe
2014/15 Kent Invicta League champions Hollands & Blair Picture: Steve Crispe

“This is a really positive move and will strengthen senior men’s football in the area,” she said.

“It also brings us in line with the rest of the country, apart from Essex), where leagues consist of two divisions, one at leach level, and there is much more movement of clubs between levels that we have seen in the past.”

It means that one of the key benefits will be to promote more than one club to step 5, the current Southern Counties East League, each season.

“That movement will keep both competitions fresh and exciting at both ends of the table until the end of the season,” said Ms Richmond.

“Both leagues are in a healthy position financially with minimal liabilities and by joining together, we can continue to support clubs both administratively and financially to grow football at these levels.”

Hollands & Blair's James McDonald brings the ball forward against Sutton Athletic. Picture: Martin Apps FM3411130
Hollands & Blair's James McDonald brings the ball forward against Sutton Athletic. Picture: Martin Apps FM3411130

Ms Richmond also praised the progress made by the majority of clubs in the Kent Invicta League since its formation.

Previous champions Hollands & Blair and Phoenix Sports have gone to bigger and better things since winning promotion while many that still ply their trade at step six now have an infrastructure to progress.

“Invicta clubs and officers have worked extremely hard to get where they are now,” said Ms Richmond.

“Some clubs still have work to do but of the 20 member clubs, nine currently have Grade G and a further five will have by the end of March.

“Work is still to be done but the League is in a much better place than when it started.”

The new league is expected to retain the Southern Counties East name, although that is subject to approval by member clubs.

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