1874 NORTHWICH are set to play in the Northern Premier League next season.

As a result of a restructure of Steps Four to Six of the National League System, a new division has been created at Step Four to be administered by the Northern Premier League.

As one of the top three clubs in the North West Counties League Premier Division over the past two Covid-shortened seasons on points-per-game, 1874 along with Warrington Rylands and Bootle have met the entrance criteria.

They will now be invited to apply for upward movement along with the top three clubs in the Northern League and Northern Counties East League and the top-ranked clubs in the remaining 11 Step Five leagues.

The move is not mandatory but having already thrown their weight behind this kind of resolution to the issues caused by Covid, it appears a formality for the Townfield outfit.

1874 gained 80 points from the 30 league games they have played over the past two campaigns at an average of 2.3529 points per game - the highest in the NWCFL ahead of Bootle (2.2667) and Rylands (2.1714).

They were top of the Premier Division when the 2019-20 season was curtailed and had won three of the five league matches they played when the same fate befell the 2020-21 campaign.

In total, 110 clubs will be moved up the footballing pyramid as a result of the changes, which will now be put before the FA Council for ratification.

"Following the curtailment of the 2020/21 league season for Steps 3-6 of the National League System (NLS), The FA’s Alliance and Leagues Committees announced that they would consider the feasibility of undertaking the restructure at Steps 4-6 (which was intended to take effect from the 20/21 season but has been delayed due to the impact of COVID-19)," an FA statement read.

"The Committees have now met to consider this matter and will be recommending to FA Council that the structural changes to the number of divisions in the NLS be completed in order to address the imbalance that currently exists and achieve the ‘pure pyramid’ at Steps 1-6.

"The planned and delayed restructure comprises of one additional division at Step 4, two additional divisions at Step 5 and a reduction of divisions, from 20 to 17, at Step 6.

"As part of the proposals, 110 clubs would be upwardly moved within the pyramid at Steps 4-6 in order to facilitate the new divisions, protecting the integrity of the NLS whilst supporting clubs with a desire and ambition to progress,without undermining the stability of the system.

"The restructure will have a positive impact on a significant number of clubs, supporting them with reduced travel and costs and providing greater opportunities for generating income via localised fixtures.

"FA Council will be considering the recommendations of the Committees in due course and Clubs and Leagues will continue to be kept updated on this process."