FOOTBALL: FA shelves plans to scrap UCL

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THE Football Association have decided against controversial plans to scrap the United Counties League.

Spalding United, Holbeach United and Deeping Rangers would all have faced relocation if the FA’s idea to reduce the number of Step Five leagues in the non-league pyramid from 14 to 12 had been approved.

The UCL – along with the Sussex League – was earmarked for the axe, but following a lengthy battle by league officials, clubs and fans, the FA has shelved the plan.

The FA also announced that, in order to continue to compete at Step Five, all clubs must meet the National Ground Grading Category F in full by March 31, 2013.

Clubs that do not meet these requirements will be relegated to an appropriate Step Six division/competition. In the UCL Premier Division’s case, that is UCL Division One.

All Step Five divisions must also have a minimum of 20 clubs, with a maximum of 22, from the commencement of the 2013/2014 season.

UCL chairman John Weeks said: “The ChromaSport and Trophies United Counties Football League wish to thank all concerned for their united support against those initial suggestions. Leagues at Step Five can now focus on their future with the knowledge that our voice has not only been heard but acted upon.”