The FA have confirmed that the National League System (NLS) restructure at Steps 4-6 has been completed and the club allocations for the 2021-22 season have been confirmed, subject to FA Council ratification.
The restructure will see 107 clubs in total upwardly moved within the pyramid at Steps 4-6 in order to facilitate the new divisions, with a new additional division at Step 4 and two additional new divisions at Step 5 and a reduction of divisions, from 20 to 17, at Step 6.
The restructure will have a positive impact on a significant number of clubs, supporting them with reduced travel and costs and providing greater opportunities for generating income via localised fixtures.
Significantly, this involves six Sussex clubs, Lancing, AFC Varndeanians, Bexhill United, Littlehampton Town, Forest Row and Montpellier Villa, achieving promotion. Lancing will move up to the Isthmian League South East (Step 4), AFC Varndeanians, Bexhill United and Littlehampton Town move up to the Southern Combination Premier Division (Step 5) with Forest Row and Montpellier Villa promoted to Southern Combination Division One (Step 6).
The full list of club allocations for the 2021-22 season covering Steps 3-6 can be downloaded below.
Steve Taylor, Lancing Chairman, had this to say on the promotion: "Myself and everyone associated with our club are thrilled and super excited about the challenges ahead. It’s a new adventure both on and off the pitch but one which we have been preparing for. The football we have played has been the most enjoyable to watch and PPG has showed just how consistent we have been over the two seasons - two years of hard work and successful results have been recognised and ensured the past two campaigns were not played in vain."
"The purists could argue that its not an authentic promotion but no one can deny the efforts that the management team, the players, the committee, the supporters and our sponsors have put into this marvellous opportunity now being presented to us. Lancing FC are now entering their 80th anniversary as a club and we welcome everyone within the local community to join us on this new and exciting journey."
Another man delighted with his club's promotion, is Bexhill United Chairman, Graham Cox: "I’m personally delighted with the news from the FA and the move to the Premier Division. This is something we have worked really hard towards especially over the last few years when the club has been settled on and off the pitch.
"It’s been hard work for all of our volunteers but we made it and I’d like to say a huge thanks to Ryan [Light], his players past and present and those who went before them who have all contributed in the journey, we wouldn’t be here now celebrating success if they hadn’t put in the hard work on the pitch on a cold November night entertaining our the crowds.
"Thanks also goes to our amazing supporters who come to watch the side at home in great numbers which has really helped us progress. With a 20 team division the pressure is on in many ways, more volunteering time, increased costs and wear on the pitch so now the hard work will move to the next level, we are ready for it though and cannot wait to welcome new opposition and nee supporters to the ground when we get going again."
For more information on Men's Football in Sussex please contact:
T: 01903 766855