The League will not be able to restore Dorking Wanderers Reserves to Division One next season, despite their application being approved by the Management Committee.
This is because the Football Association turned down their application as it was not received until after the deadline of 1 February, as stated in the regulations that govern the non-league system. This is in respect of clubs wishing to enter the non-league system at Step 6.
An appeal against the FA’s decision was lost at an appeal hearing at the FA on Thursday 20 April 2017. The following points were made in support of the appeal:
1. Dorking Wanderers could not have made the application any earlier than they did because Dorking’s decision to fold had only happened after the deadline.
2. Two seasons ago the original application from Dorking Wanderers Reserves was nodded through by the FA a week before the 2015 AGM, so there was a clear precedent.
3. The regulations speak of clubs applying to join the NLS. It was argued that an application from a club on behalf of its reserve side was different, in that the club making the application was already in the system.
The FA seemed to accept the points made but did not agree that they overrode the deadline date for applications and, therefore, the appeal was refused. It is the intention though to recommend to the Leagues Committee that some alteration is made to the regulation in question for future seasons that would allow for greater flexibility.
It would, of course, be open for Dorking FC to withdraw their resignation if that was seen to be the way forward and if they did, this would be considered by the League Management Committee.