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Increased potential promotion places supported by Southern Counties East League chair Denise Richmond


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Plans have been revealed for increased movement between the lower levels of non-league football.

Southern Counties East League chair Denise Richmond has welcomed the changes which will see greater movement among the lower steps in the pyramid than ever before – including the potential of two clubs being promoted from step 5 to 4.

Step 5 clubs, including Sheppey, could have the chance of a second promotion spot next season. Picture: Paul Owen Richards
Step 5 clubs, including Sheppey, could have the chance of a second promotion spot next season. Picture: Paul Owen Richards

“It means more than one club has the opportunity for promotion from step 5 each season which is good for the clubs and the league,” she said.

“All of the step 5 leagues wanted the opportunity to promote more than one club, ideally they’d want two-up but this is a good step and it gives more clubs the chance to go up.

“It’s not just a one-off, these changes are going to be in place going forward so that’s another positive step.”

The champions of the SCEFL Premier Division will gain promotion, and the FA have now introduced a potential second promotion spot from the Southern Counties East League to the Isthmian League.

From the end of the 2021/22 season, the team finishing second in the SCEFL Premier Division will travel to a team that has finished third or fourth bottom at step 4, likely to be Isthmian South East, for a play-off game.

The winner of that game will play step 4 football for the following campaign, with the loser placed at step 5.

There will also be play-offs at step 6 with the champions in SCEFL Division 1 being promoted, and the next four teams within that division competing for a second promotion spot.

Ms Richmond said: “It will create more competition at step 6, greater excitement for clubs and it’s something that the clubs wanted.”

Sheppey assistant manager Marcel Nimani said: "Great to see the SCEFL League getting a fairer acknowledgment in the promotion pyramid.

"And even better that it is announced before the season so clubs are not competing blind."

The plans are part of the FA’s promotion and relegation system for the end of the 2021/22 campaign, which are slightly altered higher up due to vacancies that already exist in the pyramid.

HOW IT WORKS:-

National League

Bottom three clubs will be relegated

National League South

Champions will be promoted, with second promotion spot via play-offs

Bottom three clubs will be relegated

Isthmian Premier Division

Champions will be promoted, with second promotion spot via play-offs

Bottom four clubs will be relegated

Isthmian South East Division

Champions will be promoted, with second promotion spot via play-offs

Bottom two clubs will be relegated, teams finishing third and fourth bottom enter play-off versus step 5 second-placed teams where winner will play at step 4 and the loser at step 5

Southern Counties East Premier Division

Champions will be promoted, potential second promotion spot for second-placed team against step 4 side via inter-step play-off as per above

Bottom two clubs will be relegated to step 6

Southern Counties East Division 1

Champions will be promoted, teams second to fifth to compete in play-offs for second promotion place

Bottom three clubs will be relegated

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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