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Soccer News of Thursday, 20 July 2006

Source: GNA

National Middle League scrapped

Accra, July 20, GNA - The National Middle League, a mini league competition used to determine division one clubs that gain promotion to the premiership, has been scrapped from the calendar of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

Also scrapped is the annual play-off that is held between the third placed team in the national middle league and the third from bottom club in the premiership. This brings to an end a 10-year process of promoting clubs to the premiership.

This old process has been replaced with a zonal sub-middle league which will see the top two clubs of each zone engaging in an all-play-all with the overall winner from each zone gaining an automatic qualification into the premiership.

The Division One League is made up of 48 clubs and would be divided into three zones of 16 clubs each. Each zone would again be divided into two with each having eight clubs to compete for two slots. The two top clubs from each sub zone will then engage in a zonal sub-middle league for the over winner to be determined. The proposal was endorsed by Congress, the Supreme and Legislative organ of the GFA, with a vote of 63 as against 16.

In a proposal put before Congress by the Division One League Board (DOLB), the current process of the zonal league through the sub-middle to the national middle league which was adopted in 1995 had become an expensive, laborious and time consuming venture.

According to the proposal, the long process also opened the GFA for clubs to take it to court over trivial matters and this disrupted the GFA's calendar on many occasions, hence the need to seek other alternatives to lessen the problems associated with promotion. The new process would also to ensure that clubs which qualified for the premiership were evenly spread across the length and breadth of the country in order to develop football.

In the event of a withdrawal from the sub-middle league, the third placed club in the zone would automatically participate in the competition.

In view of the changes, the last three clubs in the premiership would be automatically demoted to the division one league.