WORCESTER CITY say taking voluntary relegation is the only option to give themselves the best chance of survival.
The club, who have just appointed former West Brom striker Lee Hughes as joint-manager, will start next season at Step 5 in the Midland League.
They had hoped to only drop to Step 4 but FA regulations state a club resigning from a league must drop two Steps.
Because Worcester subsequently finished in the National League North relegation places, the drop becomes three levels.
In a statement, the board explained their reasons behind the decision saying that it will give them the chance to move forward.
It’s been a tough few years for the club after they had to move from their famous St George’s Lane ground after it was sold to housing developers.
While they’ve been searching for a new home back in the city, they’ve spent two years groundsharing with Kidderminster Harriers and this season at Bromsgrove Sporting.
The statement said: “The identification of a ground that is affordable and deliverable in the City of Worcester has been of the highest priority for the directors of the club over the past three years and a number of sites reviewed through the Council Working Party.
“With the continuing delays of the Perdiswell Project, both for Planning, but more importantly confirmation of a Land Transfer from the Council, the Board of Directors concluded that there was no alternative but to resign from the National League in order to give the club the best possible chance of survival for forthcoming seasons.”
It’s a choice they acknowledge will upset and disappoint fans.
“Playing at a lower level of football will enable the club to operate a reduced playing budget to ensure that the club’s remaining funds are protected to help support its return to Worcester at the earliest opportunity,” the club continued.
“It will also provide locally developed players with more chance of progressing and representing Worcester City Football Club.
“Regardless of the Step at which we were to be placed the new management team was set a playing budget for next season and it is intended to announce player news shortly.
“We have sympathy with supporters who will be disappointed with this news, however this action is aimed at being a pragmatic and sensible approach to ensure the club is given the best possible chance of survival until the goal of bringing the club back to a new home in Worcester has been achieved.”