It was reported today in the Non -League Paper that the FA are in the second phase of the restructuring the Non – League Football Pyramid System down to step 7. Step 7 is seen as a gateway to the National Pyramid System, which becomes more formal at Step 6 and above.
For many grassroots club’s , the view of step 7 run by County Leagues are seen as the realistic pinnacle to aspire to due access to facilities and funding etc.
It is also worth noting that a community club like us, is not just about the first team on the Saturday, we also have a responsibility to provide football to various sections of the community.
With County FA’s across the country taking the lead for running county leagues at step 7 and below, it should allow community focused clubs, the opportunity to enhance the relationship between County FA’s, leagues and clubs , which is critical to the work of community clubs.
On the face of it, the changes being made have little or no impact on clubs at step 7 and below, other than potential of improving the relationships mentioned above and providing the foundations for progression up the National League Pyramid System for clubs wishing to do so.
In terms of impact on our club, thanks to the ladies progression to Step 3 football a couple of seasons ago (prior to the women’s pyramid restructure) we were able to upgrade our ground to current ground grading for step 7 (men's) and we do not have the need or infrastructure to currently go beyond step 7 should the opportunity arise.
With our clubs’ men’s first team currently on course for promotion from step 10 to step 9, and the ladies re-joining the SECWFL Premier next season, we as club will need to provide “sin bins” and access to a defibrillator at matches. Which are more league requirements than a ground criteria thing.
For us the provision of a defibrillator is a non-issue as we already provide two on site, and plans are in place in regards to sin bins for next season, so as far as we are concerned the changes being introduced by the FA will have little or no impact on our club and the future plans for the club.