Set out below is the process to be followed by clubs seeking to be promoted from Step 7 to Step 6 for season 2020-2021.
• The Football Association will manage the promotion process for all clubs seeking promotion from Step 7 to Step 6 of the National League System. Clubs are reminded that there will be no automatic internal promotions.
• There will be a promotion application fee of £120 (inc VAT). A club will be eligible for one free grading inspection (should one be required) which will be arranged by the Association. Additional visits requested by a club will be charged at £120 (inc VAT). It should be noted that the initial £120 (inc VAT) fee is a promotion application fee and not a grading fee.
• To be considered eligible for promotion clubs must complete thoroughly the application form and return it to promotions@TheFA.com. Application forms must be accompanied by the relevant documents as listed in section five of the application:
Copy of Ground Share agreement or freehold documents or licence agreement or tenancy agreement (as applicable)
Latest set of approved audited or certified annual accounts which cover the period between 1 September 2018 and 31 August 2019
Copy of latest floodlight certificate (where applicable)
Copy of latest artificial pitch Performance Test Certificate (where applicable)
Payment of £120
Completed Ground Grading Questionnaire (see the criteria in subsequent pages of this document)
• When emailing the completed application form to promotions@TheFA.com your current League MUST BE copied in to the email.
• Clubs are advised that any applications received after 31 December 2019 WILL NOT be accepted and are reminded of the need to forward their applications prior to the holiday period.
In addition to completing the application form and providing the necessary supporting documentation Clubs are asked to note the following:
• To be considered for promotion a club must finish in 1st position in their Step 7 competition at the conclusion of the current season. If a club finishing in 1st position does not wish to be considered for promotion, or fails the entry criteria, then a club finishing in 2nd position may be considered. If the club in 2nd does not seek promotion, or fails to meet the entry criteria, then clubs down to 5th position may be considered for promotion provided that they meet the appropriate entry criteria. Clubs finishing below 5th position MAY NOT be considered for promotion and, ordinarily, only ONE club will be promoted from each Step 7 competition. FOR THIS SEASON ONLY – owing to the Step 6 restructure, it may be necessary to consider additional promotion candidates on a geographical basis. The FA Leagues Committee reserves the right to promote more than one Club per Step 7 League and would enter consultation with Step 7 Leagues if this were required.
• In order to be considered for promotion a club MUST comply fully with the requirements of Grading Category H as at 31st March 2020 (criteria included within this communication).
• Clubs may be considered for promotion without having floodlights in place however, those clubs without floodlights must comply with the following requirements as at 31 March 2020:
Planning permission for the provision of floodlights MUST have been approved by the Local Authority
Evidence provided that funding applications have been submitted
Evidence provided that the balance of any funding required is in place
Evidence provided that quotations have been obtained from appropriate contractors (three quotes)
Provide a copy of an appropriate development/installation plan
• Floodlights MUST be installed and in working order by 30th September 2020. Step 6 competitions would be at liberty to impose a penalty on any Club that failed to comply with this requirement. Clubs that fail to provide floodlights by 31 March 2021 WILL BE classified as a relegated club regardless of their finishing position at the conclusion of Season 2020-2021.
Note: the extension to 30th September does not apply for entry to The FA Vase. Clubs must fully comply with the H grade criteria before the commencement of the 2019-2020 season.
• Clubs promoted to Step 6 MUST comply fully with the requirements of Grading Category G by 31st March 2021. Clubs that fail to achieve this Grade WILL BE classified as a relegated club regardless of their finishing position at the conclusion of Season 2020-2021.
• A copy of the accompanying Ground Grading Questionnaire must be returned with the application.
• Please ensure that your club meets the appropriate grading requirements. Too many applications are submitted when grounds clearly DO NOT meet the required status.
• Ground sharing is not permitted in order to gain promotion. Clubs in a ground share MUST be using the ground shown in the application throughout the whole of the current playing season.
• Upon receipt of applications The Football Association will arrange for grounds to be inspected and graded. The co operation of Clubs in ensuring that inspections can take place will be appreciated. The inspections will be carried out by a representative of the appropriate Step 6 competition together with, where possible, a representative from the club’s current Step 7 competition.
• Clubs are reminded that grading visits are exactly that. They are NOT advisory visits. Clubs are responsible for ensuring that grounds fully comply with the requirements of Grade H prior to agreeing a date for a visit. A copy of the requirements of Grade H can be found within this communication.
• Whilst existing ground share arrangements are acceptable, Clubs are reminded that new ground share arrangements are not permitted in order to gain promotion. A copy of any existing ground share agreements must accompany the application.
• PLEASE NOTE THAT TOO MANY CLUBS APPLY FOR PROMOTION WHEN THEY KNOW THAT THEY DO NOT/WILL NOT MEET THE GRADING REQUIREMENTS. PLEASE DO NOT APPLY IF YOU WILL NOT MEET THE ENTRY REQUIREMENTS.
PART APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. ALL REQUIRED INFORMATION MUST BE SUBMITTED AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS MAY BE REJECTED.