The Movement of Clubs within the National League System other than by Promotion or Relegation
6.1 Movement of a Club from participation in one League to another is not permitted other than by promotion and relegation or otherwise as set out in League Rules save with the approval of the LC.
- It may be necessary from time to time to move Clubs laterally at the same Step. Each year the LC will consider whether any lateral movements may be necessary at each Step; if so the Clubs likely to be affected shall be notified and given the opportunity to present a case if that Club does not wish to be moved laterally. The final decision shall rest with a sub-committee of the LC. This sub-committee may include members of Step 5 or Step 6 Leagues if appropriate. Any appeal shall be to the LC using members who have not been involved in the original decision. The decision of that appeal shall be final and binding subject only to Arbitration under FA Rule K.
- In coming to its decision the LC will have regard to any representations made by any party, the distance to be travelled by any Club to be moved compared to the distance travelled in the Playing Season prior to movement; the financial impact on the Club to be moved, the frequency with which the Club has been moved in the past; the number of Clubs both in the division to which the Club is to be moved and in the division from which the Club is moved, and any other matter that it considers to be relevant.
6.2 Any Club proposing to move from one League to another must make application in writing to The Association on or before 31st March in each year to be effective for the following Playing Season. In the event of such application being successful the League from which the Club is moving shall not levy a financial penalty on that Club.
6.3 (i) If a Club (whether a Members’ Club or a Company) is wound up, liquidated, or is removed from its League or withdraws from football competition (‘the Former Club’), and a new Club (‘the New Club’) is established which wishes to be placed within the NLS, then unless otherwise determined by the LC, it will be allowed to make an application only to join a League/division at Step 5 of the NLS unless the Former Club was in either Step 4 or Step 5 when the event which caused it to cease its membership occurred in which case it must re-join the NLS at a minimum of two Steps below the level at which it was at the time the event occurred, or withdrew from football competition, whichever is lower. Where the Former Club was a member of The FA Premier League or Football League then the LC shall at its absolute discretion determine in which League the New Club shall be placed for the following Playing Season and will set out at its complete discretion the requirements to be met by the New Club.
- In order for consideration to be given to the placement in the NLS of the New Club in the following Playing Season, an initial application must be received by the LC by 1st March or within twenty-one days of the Former Club being wound up, liquidated, resigning or being removed from its League or withdrawing from football competition, if such date is later than 1st March.
- The full application accompanied by all necessary documents including evidence of security of tenure having been granted to the New Club and affiliation to a County Football Association must be received by 31st March or within twenty-one days of the Former Club being wound up, liquidated, resigning or being removed from its League or withdrawing from football competition, if such date is later than 1st March. The application shall be copied to the League of which membership is being requested. The application will be determined by the LC.
- In considering any application, the LC will set out at its sole discretion the requirements to be met by the New Club.
- In the event of more than one application being received within twenty-one days of the Former Club being wound up, liquidated, resigning or being removed from its League or withdrawing from football competition, the LC will consider at its discretion which application will be considered in accordance with this Regulation.
6.3 (ii) If a Club is removed from its League and wishes to remain in the NLS it shall apply to the LC within two working days of it receiving written notification of its removal from its League. The LC will consider such application and will place the Club in what it considers at its sole discretion to be the most appropriate League/division for the following Playing Season.
6.4 If a Club (whether a Members’ Club or a Company) ceases to be a member of its league and that Club (that is not a New Club as defined at 6.3 above) wishes to be placed within the NLS for the immediately following Playing Season, then unless otherwise determined by the LC, it may be allowed to make an application to join a League/division below the most recent League/division of which the Club was a member.
- In order for consideration to be given to the placement in the NLS by the Club in the immediately following Playing Season, an initial application must be received by the LC in accordance with the procedures set out at 6.3 above. The application shall be copied to the League of which membership is being requested. The application will be determined by the LC at its absolute discretion. In considering any application, the LC will set out at its sole discretion the requirements to be met by the Club in determining whether to approve the application.
6.5 If two or more Clubs (“the Merging Clubs”) are proposing a transaction or series of transactions that result in the merging or consolidation (“the Proposed Merger”) of those Clubs into one Club (“the Merged Club”) then a formal application to do so must be received by the LC and the league(s) of which the Merging Clubs are members by 31st December to be valid for the following Playing Season.
- A Deed of Agreement, which shall be legally binding on all parties must be submitted to The Association by 31st March in the year immediately following receipt of the application. The LC shall determine at its absolute discretion where the Merged Club is to be included in the NLS for the following Playing Season subject to the provisions of item 6.5.5 below.
In arriving at its decision the LC may apply the following minimum criteria:
- 6.5.1 The requirements of Standardised Rule 2.9 for the current Playing Season must be met by each of the Merging Clubs. If one or more of the Merging Clubs is subject to an insolvency event then Standardised Rule 2.9.2 shall be applied to such club(s), otherwise Standardised Rule 2.9.1 shall be applied;
- 6.5.2 The proposed playing name of the Merged Club must be acceptable to the LC; and
- 6.5.3 The Merged Club must have security of tenure to a ground that meets the relevant ground grading requirements;
- 6.5.4 Any other criteria that the LC may from time to time deem to be appropriate;
- 6.5.5 The Merged Club will ordinarily be placed at the lower of the Steps at which the Merging Clubs ended the Playing Season in which the application is made. For the purposes of this Regulation, if one of the Merging Clubs has finished that Playing Season in a relegation place, then they will be deemed to have ended the Playing Season at the Step to which they would have been relegated without the Proposed Merger proceeding.
Any decision regarding whether a proposed transaction or series of transactions falls to be considered under this Regulation shall be determined by the LC at its absolute discretion