Local football set to be re-organised

PUBLISHED: 11:24 29 March 2018

Football

Football

Archant

Local football is to be re-shaped following a meeting at the home of the Devon County Football Association headquarters.

Representatives of the Cornwall and Devon Football Associations, South West Peninsula and the Devon and Exeter Leagues reported back on their meetings that they had had with their respective leagues and management committees regarding the re-organisation of the Steps Six and Seven in Cornwall and Devon and the outcome is that everyone involved is keen to see the new structure in operation which it will be from the start of the 2019.20 season.

The restructuring means that the South West Peninsula League will be responsible for the two Step Six leagues, one in Cornwall and one in Devon.

The Cornwall FA will run the Step Seven league in Cornwall, Devon FA will run the Step Seven League in the South/West of the county and the Devon and Exeter League will run the Step Seven league in the North/East of Devon. The names of the Step Seven leagues will be agreed at a later date.

Ray Lewis, chairman of the Football Association’s leagues committee will be taking the proposal to its next meeting on April 10, to gain approval to move this venture forward.

It was agreed to form a joint liaison committee formed of representatives from all parties and this will meet on May 3.

This will then be followed, in early June with meetings when the full proposals will be given to Clubs.

The Football Association will be writing to each club explaining the structure and the timeline for submitting expressions of interest.

The closing date for this will be September 30, 2018 with formal applications to be received by December 31, 2018.

So how might the re-structuring of local football effects the likes of Ottery St Mary.

Quite simply, it could well be the making of them for, with their upgraded floodlights in place, the Otters would be just the sort of club that the new structure would look to embrace.

Ottery boss Dave Fairweather says of the news that grass roots football is to be restructured form the start of the 2019/20 campaign says: “I do think this is an important crossroads for local football. Clearly the opportunity is there now for leagues to go down either of two roads – they can operate like a Sunday League when, to a degree, it’s almost ‘rock up and play football’ or they can go down the road of having organised, well-structured clubs playing within a league that offers clear progression for teams who have the backing and the facilities to go further up the football pyramid.”

I do feel we, here at Ottery St Mary, can move up a couple of steps. We have a chairman who is very ambitious – as indeed I am – and, as long as we can recruit the ‘right’ sort of folk into our playing squad, and of course, attract greater support of the pitch – and by that I don’t mean just numbers through the turnstiles on a match day, I mean people to get involved and help with the tasks that need to be done to ensure the smooth running of any club.

“If we can get our recruitment right – then yes, we would be very much looking to step upwards and onwards and so I certainly endorse plans to re-structure.”

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