Mid-Ulster Football League officials have confirmed a decision to restructure the Intermediate ladder towards “delivering the highest possible standards”.
A review process held in consultation with the Irish Football Association has led to reduced Intermediate roster of 27 teams for the 2016/17 campaign.
Decisions to amalgamate by Broomhill and Richhill plus AFC Craigavon and Silverwood United have resulted in standings of 13 and 14, respectively, across the two divisions.
Players will now line out as Richhill AFC and AFC Silverwood - with both clubs listed in Intermediate B.
“The stated policy of the committee is to further reduce the number of Intermediate teams to 26 in total, with 12 in Intermediate A and 14 in Intermediate B and this is to happen at the end of the incoming season,” confirmed a Mid-Ulster Football Association statement. “This new policy is also due to the fixture demands of clubs entering at least six cup competitions nationally, regionally and domestically, demands which may include a clubs-backed initiative where the MUFL have successfully lobbied for reinstatement of leading MUFA-affiliated Intermediate A teams into the Mid-Ulster Cup.
“This reduction may be achieved by relegating a maximum of four teams from Intermediate A at the end of the season.
“However, this number may be reduced to three or even two, depending on possible promotion and relegation either to or from the newly-formed Premier Intermediate League (PIL), formerly known as Championship 2.
“Possible scenarios outlined are as follows:
“1 - The winners of MUFL Intermediate A are promoted to the Premier Intermediate League and NO application to MUFL is received from the relegated team. Outcome - Intermediate A is reduced to 12 teams by natural wastage and relegation between Intermediate A and B is conducted using the normal two up/two down procedure.
“2 - The winners of the MUFL Intermediate A are promoted to the Premier Intermediate League and an application is received from the relegated team affiliated to the Mid-Ulster FA or no team is promoted from Intermediate A to the PIL. Outcome - Intermediate A remains at 13 teams because the MUFL must accept the application from the relegated team.
“In either of these cases, three teams will be relegated to the Intermediate B with two promoted from B to A.
“The team finishing bottom of Intermediate B will be relegated to Junior Division 1.
“3 - No team is promoted from Intermediate A to the PIL and an application is received from the relegated team affiliated to the Mid-Ulster FA. Outcome -
Intermediate A is increased to 14 teams because the MUFL must accept the application from the PIL relegated team.
“In this case, four teams will be relegated to Intermediate B but with two promoted from B to A.
“The bottom two teams of Intermediate B will be relegated to Junior Division 1.
“4 - Applications received from teams relegated from the PIL but not affiliated to the Mid-Ulster FA or applications from current Intermediate teams who are members of other Regional Intermediate Leagues will be subject to a rigorous interview process.
“The committee members have, for some time, expressed their concerns about potential sterility at the bottom of Intermediate B.
“In order to off-set this, the committee members are with immediate effect opening up the possibility of promotion and relegation between those teams finishing in the top one or two places of Junior Division 1 - providing of course that they meet the Intermediate ground criteria - and those teams finishing in the bottom one or two places of Intermediate B.
“A club finishing in the upper echelon of Division 1 may also be considered for promotion to Intermediate B, providing that they meet with the Intermediate ground criteria, with the bottom two teams of Intermediate B having to apply for re-election.
“The committee members have further determined that with immediate effect, Junior teams, whether internal or external to the MUFL, may not be parachuted into Intermediate football and that, in accordance with the wishes of our National Association, Intermediate football may only be obtained via the natural processes of the pyramid system.”