Plan to secure under threat Ridgeons League

PUBLISHED: 11:55 03 February 2011

AN APPROACH has been made to the FA to allow a selection of clubs with the right facilities to enter the Ridgeons First Division regardless of where they finish in leagues below.

In an effort to secure the future of the division the bold move has been made following a meeting organised by officials and board members of concerned clubs – led by Saffron Walden Town.

Ridgeons League secretary Nigel Spurling said: “We had to act and we have proposed three options, the most favourable, and the one we will pursue, is asking the FA for one season only to allow four or five clubs into the league from the tier below.

“We want to increase the first division from 17 clubs to at least 20. The problem we have is that teams which gain or look like gaining promotion do not have the required facilities and the ones that come down to this level often go bust or fold.”

FA rules state that clubs at tier 10 (and above), where the first division sits, must have floodlights – and at around £40,000 a pop it is a large investment for any club.

However five clubs have been identified, but all do not have much prospect of a natural promotion by winning the league, or finishing second or third.

One of them is Chatteris Town FC who are 10th in the Kershaw Premier League, if the FA agrees to the one-season only proposal they could be bumped up to Ridgeons League football.

Other options proposed include dropping teams down from the Ridgeons Premier to make it a 20-team league rather than 22 or allowing reserve sides in from the Blue Square League, from clubs such as Braintree Town.

Mr Spurling: “Both of these options will be explored prior to our AGM in six months time and we will know more from the FA by then.

“However, we know club officials are not keen on reserve teams entering as it could create uneven competition with sides being unpredictable.”

He added: “If none of these proposals are accepted then I’m not sure what we will do, but we are looking forward and hope to resolve the situation.”

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