“The only way to guarantee promotion is to win the division.”
The complicated new system was devised as part of a shake-up of non-league football’s pyramid system, which has seen an extra division added at our level to reduce travel.
So here are the rules that will govern what happens at the end of the season.
The clubs finishing in the bottom three places of each of the four Step 3 divisions - which includes the Bostik Premier Division - will be relegated to a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 4 the following season.
They will be replaced by the clubs who finish top of each of the seven Step 4 divisions – including the Bostik League South East Division - together with five further clubs determined by a series of play-off matches.
The play-offs in each Step 4 division will be organised between the clubs finishing second and fifth (provided they are eligible for promotion) so that the highest placed club plays the lowest, and the two other clubs play each other. The two winning teams will then play each other, resulting in seven teams eligible for promotion – one from each division.
However, only FIVE of these seven play-off winners will be promoted. They will be the five with the highest points-per-match ratio in the regular season.
The promoted clubs will be placed in a feeder pool and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 3.
Therefore, it is possible to win the Bostik South East Division play-offs and NOT get promoted.
Updated 11:44 - 20 Aug 2018 by Brian Flynn
The rules for relegation are far simpler.
The clubs finishing in the bottom two will be relegated and placed in the most geographically appropriate division at Step 5.
They will be replaced by the 14 clubs who finish top of each of the 14 divisions at Step 5 at the end of the regular season.