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Midland plan ‘won’t solve the problem’ says Northern League chief

NORTHERN LEAGUE chairman Mike Amos fears the knock-on effect for their clubs if the Football Association’s proposal for a new Step 4 league in the Midlands gets the green light.

The FA are looking at restructuring the National League System to introduce a new division in a bid to ease costs and travelling.

It would mean shuffling some clubs up the ladder with Northern League clubs candidates to replenish the Evo-Stik NPL North.

Northern League clubs are regularly accused by some of lacking ambition with many opting not to go up when they win the league because of the amount of travelling required at Step 4.

And Amos is against suggestions promotion will be made compulsory and clubs finishing outside the top three can still be promoted.

“If they get this Midland League, good luck to them,” Amos said. “The problem will arise with the talk of compulsory promotion from Step 5 to Step 4, which I don’t think will work.

“The imperative of the whole exercise is exactly the same as when the FA introduced a restructuring exercise in 2000. Almost all of it failed. So, they’re now saying, they should cut costs across the board except the Northern League, where to make up numbers in the Evo-Stik NPL North, Northern League clubs will be urged to go up and face costs and mileage twice as high!”

Northern League chiefs met with the FA last Sunday and Amos has questioned the Non-League fraternity after learning some leagues at their level want the Northern League scrapped.

“There’s an agenda against the Northern League,” Amos said. “The Leagues Committee chairman John Ward said it’s a ‘fairly open secret’ that there are leagues at our level who don’t want the Northern League in the National League system. That’s what you get for being a success.

“We don’t promote as many clubs as other leagues because we’re out on a limb. We play our part, we’ve had a number of clubs go up and it’s quite hard for some of the others because of the costs. Those who want to, we enthusiastically back.

“So much for the brotherhood and fraternity of the Non-League community.”

An FA spokesman said: “The FA Leagues Committee are looking into the feasibility of introducing a Step 4 league in the Midlands and are in the process of seeking the opinions of the leagues and clubs at this level.”

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