Non-League football in Cornwall and Devon will undergo a significant change after the Football Association`s National League System`s latest restructure proposals.
There have been several meetings looking at proposed changes to the structure in both counties, with representatives from all leagues as well as the respective county FA`s.
Last Friday a follow-up meeting was held at the headquarters of the Devon FA with representatives of the South West Peninsula and the Devon & Exeter Leagues.
Those representatives reported back on the meetings they had with their management committees regarding the re-organisation of the Steps 6 and 7.
The changes will mean that the South West Peninsula League will have control over two Leagues in Step 6, an East and West League, and they will no longer have control over a League in Step 7.
At Step 7, there will be three leagues of sixteen teams rather than two leagues of eighteen.
That will mean that an additional twelve clubs will need to be found for this level.
This restructure is expected to reduce travel for teams, which will save money and in turn allow more sides the ability to financially sustain themselves at Step 7 and is also likely to reduce a backlog in fixtures over the winter period.
The Cornwall FA will run the Step 7 league in Cornwall, Devon FA will run the Step 7 league in the West of the county and the Devon & Exeter League will run the Step 7 league in the rest of the Devon.
As the changes won’t come into play until the start of the 2019/20 season, teams have time to prepare themselves for the Step that they want to play in.
An FA statement said: “It is pleasing to report that all parties wish to go ahead with the structure as from the 2019/20 season.
“This will mean that the South West Peninsula League will be responsible for the two Step 6 leagues, one in Cornwall and one in Devon.
“The Cornwall FA will run the Step 7 league in Cornwall, Devon FA will run the Step 7 League in the West of the county and The Devon and Exeter League will run the Step 7 league in the rest of the Devon.
“The names of the Step 7 leagues will be agreed at a later date.
“Ray Lewis, chairman of the Football Association’s National Leagues Committee will be taking the proposal to its next meeting on April 10th to gain approval to move this venture forward.
“It was agreed to form a joint liaison committee formed of representatives from all parties and this will meet on May 3rd.
“This will then be followed, in early June with meetings when the full proposals will be given to clubs.
“The Football Association will be writing to each club after April 10 explaining the structure and the timeline for submitting expressions of interest to play in the new Step 6 and Step 7 Leagues.
“The closing date for this will be September 30th 2018 with formal applications to be received by December 31st 2018”.