The build up to the North East Fooball League new season is gathering momentum ahead of the kick-off next month.
However, the NEFL has issued a clarification this morning arising out of some apparent confusion amongst some clubs over the make up of Div 3 and Div 4 following discussions about the matter at the AGM
"First of all to clear up an incorrect view that is doing the rounds at the moment is very important," stated NEFL secretary Gerry Gorman.
"There was an initial endorsement at the AGM to regionalise the bottom two Sunday divisions, and the Saturday Reserve divisions.
"That was followed by an online acceptance vote in the form of a returned email to integrate all reserve divisions with the existing Div 3 and Div 4.
"The calling of an EGM would not have been required to ratify or otherwise the email acceptance as there is currently no rule that states reserve teams should exclusively participate within their own section/sections.
"The committee would have been at liberty to implement same without the necessity of seeking the views of clubs, but in keeping with League policy felt it was the proper way to approach the subject, even allowing for the fact the overall response to submitting votes was less than 40 percent.
"The acceptance to regionalise was based on the following declared provision for managing promotion/relegation issues
given the fact two divisions will now be split for geographical purposes," he added.
A: The criteria to include a guarantee of automatic promotion for all teams that finish at the top of each group, (e.g. highest team in Div 3 group A, and highest team in Div 3 group B) and a minimum guarantee of a promotional play off for all teams finishing second in a group, e.g. Div 3 split into Group A and Group B with a minimum of ten teams in each group.
B: The highest placed team in both groups play off for the League title, and are both guaranteed promotion.
C: The second highest placed teams in both groups go into a promotion/relegation three way play off with the third from bottom in the immediate higher division.
To progress the matter the NEFL will meet next week.
At that meeting all teams that have entered will be graded and Div 3 will consist of existing Div 3 teams (including the highest placed team in Div 4 during shortened season), plus teams from premier reserve (including the highest placed team from A reserve in shortened season).
If the committee deem appropriate some reserve teams maybe graded in Div 2.
Clubs with reserve teams have expressed concerns their teams maybe forced to play on Sundays when it clearly would not suit them.
Based on the results to date of a recent survey where some club first teams have declared as having no issues with being fixed on a Saturday when paired against a reserve side, would mean it would not be necessary to schedule any reserve team to play on Sundays during March, April, September, October and November.
On occasions when daylight hours allow some maybe fixed on Thursday or Friday evenings, but this should not present a problem as a number of reserve teams have expressed a preference to do so, which has happened on occasions in the past ten seasons or so with Clubs having use of pitches with floodlighting facilities.
In such a scenario when it arises, in so far as possible clashes with first team match schedule will be avoided, but as happened on occasions in the past where a first team play home match on Friday and second team scheduled away to a team who do likewise.
Three factors (In order of sequence) will require consideration when grading teams in Division’s 3 & 4.
1. Position in League table from shortened season
2. Geopgraphical location * There maybe isolated cases where it could prove difficult following the implementation of No 1
3. First team willingness to play Sat football when fixed to play a reserve team
Qualifying criteria for Cups.
One matter will not change in that all Reserve teams will contest the Reserve Cup, and will not be allowed entry into the Tully Bookmakers Challenge Cup
Div 3 and Div 4 will be spilt into two groups, a sample of what one of Div 3 group could look like - taking the above factors into consideration is listed
Some teams listed could be graded differently or even in Division 4 following formation meeting
Division 3 Group A
Albion Rovers 2nds,
Boyne Harps 2nds,
Rock Cel 2nds,
See details within A above for promotion-relegation situation, and title play off for top team, with top team in Division 3 Group B.
The same criteria shall apply for all teams graded in division 4.