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Club allocations confirmed at Steps 3-6 for 2020/21 season

It’s been much anticipated, but finally the club allocations have been confirmed at Steps 3-6 for 2020/21 season by the Football Association.

Non league club finally know who they will face in the new season which is set for around September.

The allocations follow meetings of The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees and are subject to:

Ratification by The FA Council;
– The FA’s appeals process;
– Continued compliance with The FA’s Rules and Regulations, including ground grading and club licensing.

Whilst these allocations are understood to be accurate as at the date of these documents, The FA has received applications from two clubs to be placed in the NLS which have currently not been determined.

It is therefore possible that up to two further clubs may be allocated to the NLS for the 2020-21 season. If that is the case, The FA will be sure to update.

Once the National League has concluded the 2019-20 season, we will also confirm the club allocations for Steps 1 and 2 in due course.

North West Counties League Statement

“The make up of the Premier Division will remain unchanged, however we welcome two new clubs to the league, with Bury AFC and the FC Isle of Man being placed in our First Divisions. We do though say goodbye to one club as Emley AFC have been laterally moved back to the Northern Counties East Football League after putting in a request.

“Bury AFC are a new club who have been set up by supporters of the former Football League side after they were expelled from EFL League Two last season. They will play in the First Division North.

“FC Isle of Man are also a newly formed team, who follow Guernsey and Jersey bringing island football into the Non-League game. It is also the first time that we have had an offshore team in our league. They will play in the First Division South.

“FC Oswestry Town’s resignation created a gap in our league, and the two were admitted after the FA approved Emley’s request to move back to the NCEFL after one season in our league. They were well on target for promotion last season to Step 5, sitting in fourth place when the league was ruled null and void, ten points clear of fifth.

“We wish everyone at Emley the very best for next season and beyond.


^1 Club ground sharing at Woking FC whilst new ground under construction
^2 Club allocated on condition that they play at a G Grade compliant ground until works complete
^3 Based on FC Oswestry resignation not being undertaken
^4 Subject to a phased approach to grading following the restructure in the South West
^5 Club allocated on 12 month grace to play at Phoenix FC
^6 Club allocated based on approval for Ground Share pending


The following Clubs have been removed owing to their withdrawal:

Felixstowe & Walton FC Reserves (Eastern Counties League, Step 6)
Sidlesham FC (Southern Combination, Step 6)
Brackley Town Saints FC (Hellenic League, Step 5)
Marlow United FC (Hellenic League, Step 6)
Brightlingsea Regent FC Reserves (Eastern Counties League, Step 6)
Didcot Town FC Development (Hellenic League, Step 6)
South Normanton Athletic FC (Midland League, Step 5)
NKF Burbage (Midland League, Step 6)
New College Swindon (Hellenic League, Step 6)
Team Solent (Wessex League, Step 5)
FC Broxbourne (Spartan South Midlands, Step 6)
FC Oswestry (North West Counties, Step 6)

Balham FC have laterally moved to the Southern Counties East League as they now ground share with AFC Croydon Athletic

Brimsdown FC have laterally moved to the Eastern Counties League (Division 1 South) as they now ground share with Tilbury FC

Tower Hamlets FC have laterally moved to the Southern Counties East League as they now Ground Share with Phoenix FC

Fans can finally rejoice after hearing that the government reveals when fans can return to stadiums up and down the nation.

It’s not definitely a ‘green light’ but Boris Johnson has said on Friday morning what is the aim is to bring audiences back “in stadia”.

It’s revealed that National League clubs may be allowed to fill a third of stadiums with supporters next season.

Johnson claimed: “From 1 August we will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn.

“From October we intend to bring back audiences in stadia in a Covid-secure way subject to the successful outcome of pilots.

“Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

For example, Chesterfield would be able to have around 3,300 fans in their 10,000 all-seater stadium.

David Haythornthwaite, chairman of the Coasters, has said that talks remain ongoing about what is best for how and when to start the season, with the date rumoured to be around mid-September.

Allowing fans back in the stands in grounds up and down the nation is vital for non league clubs at this level of football as majority depend on the matchday revenue to keep themselves going otherwise risk being able to run it and potentially face having no choice but to go out of existence.

AFC Fylde owner, David Haythornthwaite, said: “Everyone is trying to get a date for when football starts again and, critically, for when football starts again with crowds.

“It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to start without crowds in non-league.

“They are talking about clubs being allowed to have one third of their capacity.

“In our case, that will allow us to have 1,600. I said straightaway: ‘That’s perfect for us. We never get more than 1,600, so that would be great’.

“If it’s going to happen with one-third of (maximum) crowds in the leagues above, there’s no reason why non-league can’t start with crowds.”

However, he believes visiting fans will not be allowed into stadiums, and gave no explanation as to ways they could watch it from back home.

“I don’t think there are going to be any away fans for obvious reasons and I’m not quite sure how you keep the social distancing,” he added.

“It’s quite easy to do with seating but I’m not sure they’ve thought it through with standing.

“So it’s a bit of a ray of sunshine.”

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