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Changes to promotion and relegation at Step 5
2nd November, 2021
Due to a number of vacancies that have arisen through the FA's National League System (NLS) for a number of reasons, changes have been made to the criteria for promotion and relegation at Step 5, including the Toolstation NCEL Premier Division.
The changes were outlined in a document released by the FA's Alliance & Leagues Committee in September.
The previous guidelines released in the summer stated that the first-placed side would be offered automatic promotion with the second-placed side going into a play-off with a Step 4 team to determine who takes the place at the higher level for the 2022/23 season.
However, to fill empty spaces, ten clubs across Step 4 will now be reprieved and that means that the ten second-placed Step 5 sides with the highest Points Per Game (PPG) across the NLS will be given automatic promotion.
The six remaining Step 4 sides will face the six remaining Step 5 sides in play-offs to determine who is placed at Step 4 for 2022/23.
There has also been a change with regards to relegation from Step 5 to 6 that was previously the bottom two destined for demotion.
Now, twelve clubs will be reprieved at Step 5 based on those with the highest PPG, starting with second-to-bottom clubs - as it stands, that would be twelve of the sixteen second-from-bottom clubs across the NLS.
This is, however, the current situation and could change due to the potential for further withdrawals and the FA's Alliance & Leagues Committee's right to vary this approach should there be a valid reason that has the best interest of the NLS at heart.