The National League have given their reaction to the announcement that the Football League want to restructure their divisions.

The Football League wants to create an extra division with 20 teams in each from 2019-20.

It would mean England has 100 teams in five divisions, up from 92. There are currently 24 teams in the Championship, League One and League Two, meaning six teams would be promoted from the National League into the Football League at the end of the 2018/19 season.

The Football League says the move would tackle fixture congestion and boost the finances of its members.

The Premier League and the Football Association have backed the proposal “in principle”.

Of the current 72 Football League clubs, 90% must support the proposal for it to go ahead. A decision will be made at their annual general meeting in June 2017.

“There are clear benefits for everyone,” Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey told BBC Sport.

“It is about taking a step back to try to work out what is best for English football.

“We hope that the Football League taking this first step is the catalyst for future change.”

However, the proposal has attracted mixed reaction from Football League clubs.

Accrington owner Andrew Holt said it had “no merit”, while Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn believes it “has value”.

Other club bosses complained they had not been told about the plan before it was announced on Thursday.

skybet leagueThe Football League says its board is offering “no recommendation other than asking its members to give full consideration to the proposal”.

The decision will have to be confirmed by November 2017.

Relegation from the Football League would be scrapped in the 2018-19 season,

How the promotion/relegation system would work during 2018-19 is still to be determined.

Currently, the bottom two teams in League Two are relegated from the Football League to the National League.

They would not go down at the end of the 2018-19 season, said Harvey.

Six other clubs – in addition to the two clubs already promoted from the National League – would join the Football League.

“The logical place for the extra clubs to come from would be promoting the next six teams from the National League,” said Harvey.

“Some of those teams are already professional and the extension to the league may suit them.”

The National League have released a statement on the proposals.

A statement on the National League website read “The National League has received the discussion paper “A Whole Game Solution” from The Football League.

The proposals outlined therein appear to have potentially fundamental implications for our competition, and as such, The National League will consider these carefully in consultation with our clubs and discuss the matter with the game’s governing bodies at the earliest opportunity”

The Football Supporters’ Federation, a democratic organisation representing the rights of fans in England and Wales, said it would consult supporters at all levels.

“The fans’ voice has to be heard in this debate,” it added.


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