Non-league football shake-up as leagues merge to arrest decline

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The TWR Wearside League is set to merge with the Durham Alliance in a bid to help arrest the decline in adult non-league football.

An announcement by Durham FA has revealed that the two leagues have agreed to come together from the start of next season.

The merger, ratified by both leagues at EGM this week, will see the Durham Alliance becoming a development division within the Wearside League set up,

Durham FA secretary, John Topping, who has been involved since the first meeting in March, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for teams who play Saturday afternoon football to not only have an opportunity to progress through the FA National League system but to also develop their facilities, players and finances.

“I would like to thank the management committee of both leagues for the support they have shown regarding the merger and also all the teams for having the foresight to take on board what the outcomes can be.

“This is a big step to try and arrest the decline in Saturday adult 11-a-side football and offer more opportunities.”

Durham FA are also in talks with the Frank Hudson Crook & District League to see if they are willing to join the structure.

Topping added: “Durham FA is committed to try and prevent, where possible the decline in Saturday adult 11-a-side football and this could result in one structure involving all the aforementioned adult leagues plus a link with the Durham County FA current Under 18s Saturday League.”