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Club News

National League: Rules And Regulations

2 June 2017

We cast our eye over how the National League operates and what different rules and regulations Pools will be working under during 2017/18.

Automatic Promotion
Only the team that finishes as Champions of the National League will be promoted automatically to League Two.

The National League will discuss a proposal to change the play-off system for the 2017/18 season when they come together for their AGM on 10th June.

Under the new mechanism, more teams would have the chance to qualify for the play-offs. At the end of the season, clubs who finish 2nd down to 7th will be included in the play-offs.

The first round of fixtures will see the teams who finish 4th and 5th host those who finish 7th and 6th respectively.

The winners of 4th v 7th will then travel to the team who finished 3rd, while the winners of 5th v 6th will travel to the team who finished 2nd.

That will then produce two teams who will go on to compete in the Play-Off Final at Wembley, with the winners achieving promotion to League Two.

If scores are level at 90 minutes then ties will move to extra time, after which there will be a penalty shootout if required.

The bottom four teams will be relegated from the National League at the end of the season.

FA Cup
Teams in the National League enter the FA Cup at the final qualifying round stage and must win that to reach the First Round Proper. This is likely to be played in mid-October.

FA Trophy
Teams in the National League enter the FA Trophy at the First Round Proper stage, with Pools’ first involvement likely to come at some point in December.

The competition then moves on to Round Three, quarter-finals and semi-finals, before the Final which will be staged at Wembley in May.

National League rules mean we must now revert to naming only five substitutes on the bench. A maximum of three substitutes can be used during a game.

Transfer Window
Unlike in the EFL, the National League has no transfer window so Pools will be free to sign players throughout the season.

Goalkeeper Kit
All referees in the National League wear all black in games so goalkeepers for both teams must wear an alternative colour.

Team Sheets
The two teams will submit official team sheets to the match officials one hour prior to kick-off in all games. This is a slight change for Pools after the EFL moved to 75 minutes before games last season.

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