Shropshire Star

Midland League clubs to benefit from new format

Clubs in the Midland Football League are set to benefit from the introduction of traditional four-team play-offs from next season.


The FA has revealed the play-offs will be brought in at the end of 2023-24 to replace the current inter-step system

It means instead of the runners-up in the Midland Football League playing off against a team from the level above, the second to fifth-placed teams will take part in semi-finals and a final, with a guaranteed place in the league above for the winners.

The move, subject to FA Council approval, will guarantee two clubs are promoted into step four each season from the 16 step five divisions, 32 in total – one as champion and a second through the play-offs.

At the end of next season, two clubs will be relegated from each of the eight step four divisions in order to increase league sizes at step five to 22 with only one relegation spot from the Midland Football League in place

Currently in the league, eight teams are within reach of second spot which would extend their season but under the new system, more would be in with a chance of reaching the play offs.

The current inter-step play-offs were introduced last season with clubs finishing third and fourth bottom of step four at risk of relegation through one-off winner-takes-all matches against step five runners-up.

Boldmere St Michaels were promoted through the play-offs and now play in the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands.

Midland Football League chairman Nigel Wood welcomed the move, saying it would extend the interest of clubs further down the league, with a chance for them to extend their season.

He said: “It will make the latter part of the season more exciting for many clubs and supporters and increase the strength of the competition.”