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Home: Non-League Football Discussion: Restructuring Discussion:
FA statement on future pyramid

 

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Cris
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Aug 14, 2019, 4:35 PM

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Re: [hawkwind] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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Not for the first time on this forum a long detailed plan how someone wants to micro manage the pyramid, followed by criticising the FA for micro management.

No, a short summary of ideas to improve the workings of the pyramid structure - the kind of thing you might expect to read in the restructuring discussion section of this forum. There are a lot of good people involved with Step Five leagues (and below) that should be being actively supported by the FA. Centralising unnecessarily, taking away responsibility from people on the ground, imposing additional workloads: ultimately will lead to losing volunteers who will be very difficult to replace. Good league administrators build relationships with clubs over years - that matters.

So yes I will continue to criticise the FA for micro managing. That's not their role.


The only way you could possibly implement your plan would be via significant micro management from the FA. I don’t have an issue with people putting forward wild and wonderful ideas, but don’t pretend they can be implemented without significant centralised management and treading on the toes of league management.


I find your response a little perplexing because I would expect the implementation of fixed boundaries to reduce FA involvement - that's based on how this works elsewhere as I can't take any credit for any originality of my 'idea'. AFAIK France, Germany, Italy and Spain all both operate pyramids with fixed boundaries below a certain level and set the regional-local divide far higher in their structures.


Who, if not the FA is imposing this system of fixed boundaries? Who, if not the FA is deciding where these boundaries are? Who if not the FA is putting in place the promotion/relegation between your fixed boundary leagues at step 5 and the flexible boundary leagues at step 4?

In many ways your proposal is more radical than the recent restructure and would require more less not less FA involvement and imposition on existing leagues.


Sorry, but no, it would require far less FA involvement.

Taking your three questions.

Who, if not the FA is imposing this system of fixed boundaries? This is a top-level strategic decision, it involves no work for anyone once the initial boundaries have been set. Incidentally the FA arbitrarily deciding to impose pooling at Step Five was also a strategic decision but one which has resulted in the FALC making decisions each summer followed by an FA appeals committee examining and sometimes changing them. Look back at the appeals this past summer and most concerned clubs at Steps Five/Six - I suggest because below 'regional' level clubs have been used to stability.

Who, if not the FA is deciding where these boundaries are? The clubs primarily, the leagues secondarily, with the FA overseeing that there were no anomalies. This is a major one-off exercise that would need completing before implementation. Fleshing a little more detail I would ask each club at Steps Three through Six to state which Step Five League they wished to belong to, I would then draw a map based on that input, and if all the clubs fitted neatly that would be the boundaries fixed - but certainly with gap non-allocated areas. Each summer any club from a gap non-allocated area descending to Step Three or rising to Step Six would have to add their input so the fixed boundaries would be further refined but never reduced. And if the clubs don't all initially neatly fit? Then I would talk with the leagues, those clubs concerned, try to reach an amicable solution - and only in the last resort take a central decision and that would prioritise the clubs currently at Step Five. What though if a club is currently in the 'wrong' Step Five league? It would stay there until either promoted into the regional level from which if relegated it would always go into the 'right' Step Five, or until there was a vacancy in the 'right' league that helped rebalance.

Who if not the FA is putting in place the promotion/relegation between your fixed boundary leagues at Step Five and the flexible boundary leagues at Step Four? The rules are the outcome of a top-level strategic decision made defining promotion-relegation between Steps Four and Five (as indeed happens now, rules changing again this season). Allocations of Step Four places for promoted clubs would continue as now. Relegated clubs to Step Five would automatically be placed in the 'right' Step Five league. Those leagues would then administer 'their' pyramid structures. Those pyramid structures would have to satisfy overall strategy - two examples rules for dealing with flexible league sizes and ground grading requirements at each Step. Whether a Step Five has a 1-1-4-8 structure or a 1-2-3-4 structure has no impact on the regional structure above.

In a fixed boundaries below Step Four structure central FA on-going involvement would be reduced.


Firstly you’re living in fantasy land if you think asking clubs what league they think best suits them isn’t going to lead to utter chaos particularly where they are close to league boundaries, Nottingham, Leicestershire in particular would be a complete mess. Clubs won’t base their decisions solely on geography, I’d be strongly lobbying my step 3 club to select the Hellenic as its far easier to option promotion from than the MFL, that won’t be a remotely unique situation.

When you say “I” would talk to the clubs, presumably you don’t actually mean you? Who would do that?

Once we have these boundaries selected by clubs in their own self interest who decides what the structure is below step 5? In the case of the MFL they’ve wanted a single step 6 feeder for some time, can they impose that? Doing away with the WMRL and EMCL (or at least take half its clubs) if a structure can’t be imposed by the MFL, who decides, who arbitrates? Do the dozen odd county FAs get involved?

Do these arbitrary boundaries ever get reviewed, if there’s a bottle neck of clubs in the midlands but empty leagues in the south west can a bunch of clubs decide they want to move? How does that impact the promotion to step 4?


hawkwind
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Aug 15, 2019, 1:38 AM

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Firstly you’re living in fantasy land if you think asking clubs what league they think best suits them isn’t going to lead to utter chaos particularly where they are close to league boundaries, Nottingham, Leicestershire in particular would be a complete mess. Clubs won’t base their decisions solely on geography, I’d be strongly lobbying my step 3 club to select the Hellenic as its far easier to option promotion from than the MFL, that won’t be a remotely unique situation.

When you say “I” would talk to the clubs, presumably you don’t actually mean you? Who would do that?

Once we have these boundaries selected by clubs in their own self interest who decides what the structure is below step 5? In the case of the MFL they’ve wanted a single step 6 feeder for some time, can they impose that? Doing away with the WMRL and EMCL (or at least take half its clubs) if a structure can’t be imposed by the MFL, who decides, who arbitrates? Do the dozen odd county FAs get involved?

Do these arbitrary boundaries ever get reviewed, if there’s a bottle neck of clubs in the midlands but empty leagues in the south west can a bunch of clubs decide they want to move? How does that impact the promotion to step 4?


Can I ask you to do something please? A few posts ago (post 740) I suggested that the eight Step Four divisions should relegate three clubs each, leaving 24 promotion places from Step Five. I also split the current Step Five leagues into three groups and suggested how many promotion places I would allocate to each group. How would you allocate those 24 places?

I don't think it's idealistic to bring the clubs and leagues into the decision process. I have no preconceptions about what individual clubs' responses would be but that's the point really. The Hellenic might be an easier option for your club but that is based on today's set-up with a promotion system into Step Four that isn't fair - as I guess you would agree? Would you be so keen if the Hellenic promoted one club and the Midland promoted three? Or if there were more Step Five leagues in the Midlands?

The FA would oversee the whole process, set the strategy, so yes 'I' was what I believe that the FA should do.

As previously posted the numerous clubs in the Midlands suggests adding at least one Midlands Step Five. What it doesn't suggest is adding another Step Five league in and around London (although that is workable) and promoting seven Step Five clubs of 16 from leagues covering the 'traditional' Isthmian footprint (which is plain daft).

Once an initial structure was in place with a defined number of promotion places from each given Step Five league to Step Four any individual league with two or more allocated promotion places could be subsequently split into two separate Step Five leagues without impacting any of the other Step Five areas. That would be achieved by consensual agreement between the FA, clubs and leagues - ultimately the arbitrator would be the FA which would be fine as long as the process is sufficiently transparent. Pyramid structures below each Step Five league would have to be approved by the FA but this would be automatic if the clubs and leagues were all in agreement. From reading your post that doesn't sound like the case concerning the MFL - so the FA would try to seek consensus with the clubs and leagues and make a decision in the best interests of the majority. That's part of the their role. Don't they already do that now?

By making the structure fit the clubs there won't be a bottleneck in the Midlands. Why am I so sure? Well I guess that you will have allocated your 24 promotion places to ensure that it doesn't. The current set-up in the Midlands isn't right - it can be fixed without impacting on Step Five leagues elsewhere.

By giving the clubs input in the first place the boundaries should only be reviewed every decade or so EXCEPT for change of circumstances. Example: if the boundaries were fixed for n Step Five leagues and the Midland was then split creating an additional Step Five league then it would be prudent to ask the Herefordshire clubs if they now wished to be inside a new 'West Midlands' Step Five league rather than in the Hellenic.

Presuming that you would give the Midlands league more than one of the 24 promotion places - you have a starting point from which to define an alternative pyramid structure you would like to see in that area from Step Five down. In fact what would be your ideal pyramid structure for today's MFL, WMRL and EMC area Steps Five through Seven?


boivie
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Aug 15, 2019, 7:00 AM

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I find your response a little perplexing because I would expect the implementation of fixed boundaries to reduce FA involvement - that's based on how this works elsewhere as I can't take any credit for any originality of my 'idea'. AFAIK France, Germany, Italy and Spain all both operate pyramids with fixed boundaries below a certain level and set the regional-local divide far higher in their structures.


Don't look too closely on other countries' systems if you want more power to the leagues. In the countries I know of, the national FA controls everything to a certain level, and then the regional FAs control everything from that level. The only fixed borders are between the regional FAs (state borders in the case of Germany); within each region there is pooling again.

Leagues that are run independently seems to be a unique British thing.


oftenscore6
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Aug 15, 2019, 1:16 PM

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I find your response a little perplexing because I would expect the implementation of fixed boundaries to reduce FA involvement - that's based on how this works elsewhere as I can't take any credit for any originality of my 'idea'. AFAIK France, Germany, Italy and Spain all both operate pyramids with fixed boundaries below a certain level and set the regional-local divide far higher in their structures.


Don't look too closely on other countries' systems if you want more power to the leagues. In the countries I know of, the national FA controls everything to a certain level, and then the regional FAs control everything from that level. The only fixed borders are between the regional FAs (state borders in the case of Germany); within each region there is pooling again.

Leagues that are run independently seems to be a unique British thing.

Not sure it's so important who runs them. In Germany, the boundaries apply at 4th (Regionanliga) and 5th (Oberliga) level certainly. Some 6th level (Landesliga) are pooled eg. hamburg, but where the geographic areas for a division are more distinct, I understood they continued. But up to the state how they manage it. Which is essentially what hawkwind was suggesting anmd not that different to how step 5/6 operated until the FA got involved. If the Hellenic wanted 2 step 6 divisions, relegating 4 from the Premier and promoting 2 from each, that was fine. If the Northern league only want 1 step 6 and promote / relegate 3, also fine - whatever suits the local organisation. Even better is fix boundaries right the way up, then every clubs knows their pathway and what travel they might face, instead of clubs near boundaries having an anxious wait for initial alocations and then a whole series of appeals. You can also have the same step 4/5 situation as 5/6 with different numbers of divisions beneath if that's a better fit for the area. So if there was a Midland step 4 division and only 1 step 5 division below it (MFL), then promote/relegate more teams between those - no bottleneck then. If the Midlands decides it wants a 2nd step 5 league within the same step 4 area, it can then do so without impacting another region, but has to agree how the promotion to step 4 then applies.

By pooling everything instead though, the league areas are constantly changing, which means uncertainty and appeals for those placed somewhere they didn't want or expect. It's made worse because the number of teams from each area at each level are imbalanced, because of different approaches to combining leagues in different regions.The effects of this gradually follow through - so many SE sides up from step 5, through step 4, that the Isthmian is contracting in size and Met Police and Hendon get switched to the Southern, pushing the likes of Hitchin and Leiston into a division promoting to Conference North... ladderman is getting close to a return.



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KnowYourMarket
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Aug 15, 2019, 6:37 PM

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One downside of fixed boundaries though is you can be relegated because teams above you from the division above force you down. So you could finish 4th from bottom and be relegated and a team at the same level can finish bottom but one and stay up.

So, yes you know where you will be relegated to but you are also relying on other clubs results.

The other problem with fixed boundaries is there will still be teams on the extremities and as the boundary is fixed they will always be on it. If you pool teams there are extremities but that can vary with a different make up of teams at a particular level.

Neither system is perfect. In many major European countries regionalisation is higher up the pyramid which does help the lower you get.



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ictoan
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Aug 15, 2019, 8:58 PM

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Does having fixed boundaries mean that a team can win their league and not be promoted if there is no team from their area in a relegation position to replace them?



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KnowYourMarket
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Aug 15, 2019, 10:37 PM

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Re: [ictoan] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

No, they would still go up.

As an example the current standings in German 3. Liga has 4 teams in the relegation zone, 2 would go to Regionalliga Bayern (Bayern Munich II and Wurzburger Kickers) and 2 would go to Regionalliga Nordost (Chemnitzer and Carl Zeiss Jena). 4 teams from the 5 Regionalligas still come up, 3 automatically and 1 via a play off.

One of the leagues that is in the play offs this season is Regionalliga Nordost, so if 2 teams go down that forces 1 extra relegation place and if the champions do not win their play off that would create another relegation place as no team is going up and the division would be oversubscribed. This could create a knock on effect further down depending on who goes down and who has come up.



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(This post was edited by KnowYourMarket on Aug 15, 2019, 10:40 PM)


Cris
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Aug 15, 2019, 11:55 PM

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Re: [hawkwind] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


Can I ask you to do something please? A few posts ago (post 740) I suggested that the eight Step Four divisions should relegate three clubs each, leaving 24 promotion places from Step Five. I also split the current Step Five leagues into three groups and suggested how many promotion places I would allocate to each group


So let me got this straight, the FA wanting all leagues at the same level to apply the same rules and standards is too much centralised “micro management” but someone arbitrarily deciding how many promotion places each league/region should have is perfectly reasonable?


hawkwind
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Aug 16, 2019, 1:32 AM

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No, they would still go up.

As an example the current standings in German 3. Liga has 4 teams in the relegation zone, 2 would go to Regionalliga Bayern (Bayern Munich II and Wurzburger Kickers) and 2 would go to Regionalliga Nordost (Chemnitzer and Carl Zeiss Jena). 4 teams from the 5 Regionalligas still come up, 3 automatically and 1 via a play off.

One of the leagues that is in the play offs this season is Regionalliga Nordost, so if 2 teams go down that forces 1 extra relegation place and if the champions do not win their play off that would create another relegation place as no team is going up and the division would be oversubscribed. This could create a knock on effect further down depending on who goes down and who has come up.


Alternatively you could build-in flexibility of division size into the system. A standard rule across all Step Five leagues could include: always relegate clubs finishing 19th and below; sometimes reprieve 18th; and possibly relegate 17th only to prevent the notional 20 club Step Five division exceeding 22 clubs.

This is a brief example of how it could work for a Step Five division with one or two promotion places and with a single feeder division.
Season 1. 20 clubs. Champions promoted. Runners-Up promoted via inter-league play-offs. No club relegated from Step Four. 19th and 20th relegated. 18th reprieved. Three clubs promoted from lower division. Extra club promoted.
Season 2. 20 clubs. Champions promoted. Runners-Up not promoted. Three clubs relegated from Step Four. 18th-20th relegated. Three clubs promoted from lower division.
Season 3. 22 clubs. Champions promoted. Runners-Up not promoted. One club relegated from Step Four. 18th-22nd relegated. Three clubs promoted from lower division.
Season 4. 20 clubs. Etc.

There is a trade-off between this approach and how the system works in Germany. I guess the clubs are best placed to say whether it's better or worse.


Cris
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Aug 16, 2019, 2:23 AM

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There is a trade-off between this approach and how the system works in Germany. I guess the clubs are best placed to say whether it's better or worse.


If you want to leave things in the hands of clubs, that means the likes of Mike Ashley decides if there’s promotion and relegation from the premier league. Clubs will always (quite rightly) act in heir own self interest. Megalomaniac club owners have done enough damage to clubs without giving them the power to screw over the whole game.


ladderman
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Aug 16, 2019, 12:48 PM

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The other problem with fixed boundaries is there will still be teams on the extremities and as the boundary is fixed they will always be on it. If you pool teams there are extremities but that can vary with a different make up of teams at a particular level.


.


But we're always on the extemity of a league now.. Whether we're Isthmian Prem or Central Prem we're the furthest club out. The same applies if we go up or if we go down - Isthmian South Central or North, or the Southern Central.

If things go really bad, we're locked on for the Essex Senior, though :)


(This post was edited by ladderman on Aug 16, 2019, 12:50 PM)


windydcfc
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Aug 16, 2019, 4:03 PM

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Re: [ladderman] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

The NWCL have released a statement/advice on the application process and criteria for clubs at step 7 and outside the pyramid. They are easily the best league in regards to things like this https://www.nwcfl.com/...articles.php?id=7688



Non League Projection - 2020/21: https://docs.google.com/...UTgVhKYTo/edit#gid=0
Step 1: https://www.google.com/....119447550000018&z=7
Step 2: https://www.google.com/...677250654298405&z=15
Step 3: https://www.google.com/...358611350589399&z=16
Step 4: https://www.google.com/...536616305542566&z=16
Step 5: https://www.google.com/...399355140531952&z=16
Step 6: https://www.google.com/...1556307438963813&z=9


SWP-Phil
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Aug 16, 2019, 5:14 PM

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Re: [windydcfc] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Other leagues do very similar but may just chose to contact the step 7 clubs direct rather than making a Press Release out of it !



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windydcfc
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Aug 16, 2019, 6:27 PM

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Other leagues do very similar but may just chose to contact the step 7 clubs direct rather than making a Press Release out of it !



How many clubs have they gained over the past few seasons through their website or online media? How much information do they provide to clubs and supporters that no other leagues even consider? Their website is the best Nonleague website by a distance and probably followed by the NCEL. It’s actually got better since they recruited the guys that used to run the bootiful game website/twitter account.



Non League Projection - 2020/21: https://docs.google.com/...UTgVhKYTo/edit#gid=0
Step 1: https://www.google.com/....119447550000018&z=7
Step 2: https://www.google.com/...677250654298405&z=15
Step 3: https://www.google.com/...358611350589399&z=16
Step 4: https://www.google.com/...536616305542566&z=16
Step 5: https://www.google.com/...399355140531952&z=16
Step 6: https://www.google.com/...1556307438963813&z=9


Unicorn
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Aug 16, 2019, 8:30 PM

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Re: [windydcfc] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Absolutely correct.
Leagues are not run for the benefit of clubs.
They are run for the benefit of the paying customer.
Because if they stop paying to attend there are no leagues or clubs.
Simple business principle.


Richard Rundle
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Aug 16, 2019, 8:48 PM

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Re: [Unicorn] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately


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Absolutely correct.
Leagues are not run for the benefit of clubs.
They are run for the benefit of the paying customer.
Because if they stop paying to attend there are no leagues or clubs.
Simple business principle.


If you're going down that road, you could reasonably get to the point where "leagues are there for sugar daddies because if they stop putting money in there are no leagues or clubs".


Unicorn
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Aug 16, 2019, 8:59 PM

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Re: [Richard Rundle] FA statement on future pyramid [In reply to] Can't Post or Reply Privately

Yes you could.
All that is required is transparency.
Its much better than it used to be.
But websites need to be informative and press releases clearly visible on websites are the best way of doing it.
The public need everything fully explained to them just as much as the Leagues do.
In fact as i said more so because they pay to watch.

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