Combined Counties League will promote two teams with play-off system added

A mid air challenge during the Reading City vs Ascot United fixture. Photo: Hazel Worthy.
A mid air challenge during the Reading City vs Ascot United fixture. Photo: Hazel Worthy.

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The Non League Football Paper has revealed the FA will introduce four team play-offs across all Step 5 division’s – including the Combined Counties League – from the 2023/24 season.

The change means a guaruntee that two Step 5 teams from each division will earn promotion, replacing the Step 4 vs Step 5 play-off system that will take place this season.

An FA statement published here by the NLP said: “Subject to FA Council approval, the Inter-Step Play-Offs currently in place at Steps 4 and 5 of the National League System (NLS) are to be replaced after the 2022/23 season.

“The change will see the introduction of a traditional four-team Play-Off in each of the sixteen Step 5 divisions – thus guaranteeing a second promotion place from Step 5 to Step 4, subject to Clubs meeting the eligibility criteria which includes an independent ground grading assessment.”

The change means that the bottom four sides in each of the eight Step 4 divisions across the Northern League, Isthmian League and Southern League will all be automatically relegated at the end of the 2023/24 season.

The change will mirror the play-off system in place at Step 6 which see’s the top side promoted automatically and the sides placed second to fifth will take part in a traditional play-off system with the winning side also promoted.

Full details of the 2022/23 promotion and relegation process are available here.

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