FOOTBALL: Stamford AFC in line for shock relegation reprieve

Action from Stamford AFC v Salford City. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-161204-111925001
Action from Stamford AFC v Salford City. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-161204-111925001

Stamford AFC might be in for a shock relegation reprieve.

It seems unbelievable but on Wednesday Evo-Stik Southern League Division One, South and West champions Cinderford Town AFC confirmed they have rejected promotion into the Southern Premier Division.

Cinderford tweeted: “The club can confirm that we have today written to the league to request that we remain in the South and West division in 2016/17. Whilst we have ambitions to play at a higher level, the sustainability of the club moving has to come first.”

What that means is there is a spot available in Step Three football and Stamford AFC are in prime position to fill it having finished fourth from bottom in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League last season.

Those final victories, 4-1 at Skelmersdale United and 2-0 at home to Mickleover Sports, might just have saved them.

The FA National League System rules state that where there is a vacancy at Steps Two and Three at the end of the season, the best ranked club in a relegation position, across that particular step, is reprieved.

At the moment that appears to be the Daniels as the ranking is determined by the average points gained per game and comparable league position.

Burgess Hill are in the best position, they finished fourth from bottom in the Isthmian League, having gained 50 points from 46 matches but they have already been given a reprieve from relegation due to Farnborough FC’s problems.

Farnborough, finished 18th, three points clear of the drop but have been relegated by Ryman League chiefs following a breach of their Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which relates to paying back creditors. They could even be relegated two divisions.

That means Stamford, fourth from bottom of the Northern Premier League, with 45 points from 46 matches are the next best placed club.

Bedworth, who finished fourth bottom in the Southern Premier League with 44 points from 46 matches are the other contenders.

The suggestion is Corby Town, who have been placed in the Northern Premier League having won promotion, will be moved across to the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League, with Stamford staying in the division they were expecting to be relegated from.

The Evo-Stik NPL’s Premier, North and South divisions were confirmed on Thursday last week by the FA, which placed Stamford in the First Division South.

However the constitutions are subject to appeal and will be confirmed at the Evo-Stik NPL’s AGM which takes place on Saturday, June 18 at the Hilton Hotel in Blackpool.

It’s going to be a case of wait and see.