Interest in promotion from the Premier Division of the Toolstation Western League will be extended from the top two places to the top five, in the 2023/24 season.
The Football Association have announced that next season, there will be a four-team Play-Off in each of the sixteen Step 5 divisions, the level of the non-league pyramid occupied by the Western Leagues Premier Division, guaranteeing a second promotion place into the Southern League. Last season, Saltash United were denied promotion by Bristol Manor Farm, who managed to retain their Southern League status, defeating their Western League rivals at the Creek. The FA’s proposals for promotion and relegation, announced in March, have signalled that the inter-step play off is a thing of the past, with Western League Clubs now competing against each other for a play-off place, subject to their facilities meeting ground grading requirements.
Next season, two sides are set to be relegated from the Southern League Division One South, as the FA seek to increase the divisional size at Step 4 to 22 Clubs per division. The FA’s latest reorganisation is good news for Western League Premier Division Clubs as only one side will be liable for relegation next season. From the 2024/25 season, the FA have announced their intention that four Clubs will be relegated from Southern League Division One South, along with the other seven divisions that cover the country at Step 4.
However, the future of the Western League is uncertain going into the 2024/25 season, with an FA working group currently looking into the future structure of Step 5 and 6 football in the South West, following the collapse of the merger between the South West Peninsula League and the Western League, earlier this year. Should the FA undertake a reorganisation of football in the South West and create an additional Step 5 Division to address the considerable travel distances Clubs currently face, this may impact both how and how many sides are promoted and relegated across the region.