Clubs at Steps 5 and 6 will be involved in play-offs for the first time at the end of season 21-22.
The FA has now issued clarification as to how it will work. The guidance below relates to promotion and relgation between Steps 4 and 5, but there will be similar clarification involving promotion and relegation between Steps 5 and 6 in due course.
Sequence of Matches - Venues
Subject to a full quota of Clubs qualifying to participate, each one-off Inter-League Play Off Match will comprise of a team finishing in third or fourth bottom at Step 4 against a team finishing in second at Step 5. The winning Club will be allocated at Step 4 for the following season and the losing side at Step 5 for the following season.
The intended ‘pairing’ of Clubs will be on the premise of geographical grouping, with the exact grouping being decided once the Clubs eligible for the Inter-Step Play-Offs is known. Once geographically grouped, the Club at Step 4 with the highest Points Per Game will be paired with Club with the lowest Points Per Game at Step 5 to create a tie. This method will then be applied on a sliding scale with all other Clubs in the geographical group.
Should a reprieve be required at Step 4 then the team at Step 5 with the highest Points Per Game average will also be automatically promoted to Step 41. Should there not be 16 eligible Clubs who finish second at Step 5, the Club with the highest Points Per Game average at Step 4 will be reprieved.
The Matches will be played to a conclusion as one-off games and should the scores finish level at the end of normal time then 15 minutes each way extra time will be played. Should the scores still be level at the end of extra time then the winners will be decided by the taking of kicks from the penalty mark.
Dates of Games
As agreed by the Alliance and Leagues Committees each season.
Should a Club that has qualified to play at home not be able to host the game at their normal home ground on the scheduled date and kick-off time then the game will be played on the ground of their opponents. Should neither Club be able to host the fixture, a venue will be selected at the discretion of the Committee, with any costs associated to this being shared equally by the two Clubs.
All Play-Off games will be played under the terms associated to Step 3 & 4 Play Offs with the net gate and any income generated by the broadcast of the match being distributed on the ratio of 37.5% to each of the two Clubs and the balance of 12.5% payable to each League.
Any expenses claimed for the match must be agreed with the Committee and the relevant receipts must be entered.
All matches are arranged by the Committee and are not treated as “Home” matches of the Club on whose ground the match is played. All complimentary tickets will be issued by or at the direction of the League who must be consulted on all arrangements including the allocation of Directors Box tickets.
COVID-19 and variance of these conditions
The Committee(s) will endeavour to adhere to the protocols set out above, however, particularly in relation to matters which are beyond the Committees’ control, all rights are reserved by the Committee(s) to amend this document and/or the format of Inter-Step Play-Offs as deemed appropriate from time-to-time.