PLANS to re-vamp the non-league pyramid and introduce a Second Division, or two regionalised second divisions, of the Nationwide Football Conference have been put on hold after the schemes were rejected by the Football Association for next season.
The FA issued a statement stating that the reforms were considered not to be in the best interests of football. This means that for next season the non-league pyrmaid structure will almost certainly remain unchanged.
Accrington Stanley officials, who backed the plans for change, will hope that Stanley will be part of the existing Conference in any case. But Conference chiefs have vowed to continue with the reform plans in the hope that they will be accepted for a future season.
Conference Chief Executive John Moules took encouragement from the FA's statement that: 'The proposals would be referred to the National League System Committee with a recommendation that the Conference and feeder leagues (The Unibond, Dr Martens and Ryman leagues) work together in order that the best interests of the game be upheld.'
He said: "At least that is a positive step. We have applied to the Sanctions' Committe for two years and this is the first time we have had our proposals passed on to the NLS. We do not believe we have been completely rejected at all."
Around 15 Unibond Premier Division clubs were prepared to resign from the league if the new set-up had been accepted.
Stanley chairman Eric Whalley was an enthusiastic supporter of the reforms. But whether fans would have been too thrilled by playing in a national Conference Second Division, facing trips to places like Dover, Maidenhead,Canvey Island and Tiverton, would have been interesting.
Perhaps the second option of a regionalised Conference Division Two (North) would have been a more popular option with clubs such as Stafford Rangers, Grantham Town and Tamworth currently enjoying similar status to Stanley.