West Midlands (Regional) League - Structure

Structure

The league currently has no title sponsor. Previously it has been sponsored by Sport Italia, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star newspaper, and Black Country brewery Banks's. In the 2009–10 season 53 teams are competing in the league, comprising 21 in the Premier Division, 18 in Division One and 14 in Division Two. Some of the teams in the lower two divisions are reserve teams of clubs playing at a higher level. Each division is contested on a double round-robin basis, with each team playing each of the other teams in the division once at home and once away. Three points are awarded for a win (increased from two with effect from the 1988–89 season), one for a draw and zero for a defeat. Goal difference is used to separate teams on the same points, having replaced goal average at the start of the 1978–79 season.

Since the 1994–95 season the Regional League, along with the Midland Football Combination, has served as one of the two official feeders to the Midland Football Alliance. The highest-placed team which meets the Alliance's entry requirements is promoted to the Alliance, and one or more teams may be relegated into the Regional League from the Alliance depending on the number of clubs remaining in each league. Prior to the 2006–07 season, the league was defined as a step 7 league within the National League System, even though it fed into the Alliance, which is graded as step 5. In 2006 the Regional League was re-graded by the Football Association as a step 6 league. Teams in the top two divisions are eligible to take part in the FA Cup and FA Vase as long as their grounds meet the required standards.

Since the formation of the Midland Alliance, the Regional League has accepted applications for membership from successful teams in smaller local leagues within its catchment area. Leagues whose clubs have joined the Regional League include the Shropshire County League, the Herefordshire League, the Wolverhampton Combination, and the Kidderminster & District League. Several ambitious local Sunday league teams have also switched to Saturday play and entered the league. Bewdley Town, Bromyard Town and Ellesmere Rangers have all joined from county leagues since 1994 and subsequently gone on to gain promotion to the Premier Division. Regional League teams could also theoretically be relegated to the local leagues but in practice this almost never happens. The only teams in recent history to drop down to a county league have been Leominster Town, Kington Town and Hinton, who dropped down to the Herefordshire League in 2004, 2006 and 2007 respectively, although all three clubs resigned voluntarily in favour of playing in a more local league as opposed to being relegated due to finishing at the bottom of the table.

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