The Board of the Western Football League can confirm that talks with representatives from the South West Peninsula League, concerning the creation of a new Western Peninsula League, have broken down.
The merger between the two Leagues was always intended to bring together the best of both Leagues and whilst a huge amount of progress has been made, talks broke down over the roles and responsibilities that will sit at the heart of the new Leagues administration. Despite the intervention of the Football Association, which we welcomed, it has not been possible to resurrect the merger. We were due to meet with representatives of the SWPL today (6thFebruary) to agree on the one outstanding issue which is the role of the football secretary. However this was pre-empted by a statement put out by the SWPL stating that they would no longer be engaging in any further discussions with the Western League.
The Western League Board strongly believe in devolving roles for fixture management, player registration and the administration of League business across a number of individuals, working collectively as a team. In this way, we have been able to support each other in times of difficulty and enable succession planning, as volunteers leave their roles. Combining these critical functions within one role is not what we believe to be good practice. As a compromise we agreed that the football secretary would handle registrations and transfers. We further offered that fixture scheduling could be managed between the football secretary and the fixtures secretary. At which point the talks broke down.
We recognise that this decision has profound implications for Clubs currently competing in the Western League Premier Division, specifically in relation to their costs of travel and for that reason we remain committed to find a solution across the South West of England. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how this might best be achieved with the Football Association, going forward.
We would like to take this opportunity to place on record our sincere thanks to all those individuals, from both Leagues, who have acted in good faith and volunteered their time and expertise, having made a genuine commitment to make this merger happen.