FA OFFICIALS have confirmed a merger of the Western League and South West Peninsula League pyramids will take place from the 2023/24 season.

Bridport, currently in the South West Peninsula League Premier East, are implicated in the combining of the divisions.

Currently, there are four leagues comprising one Step 5 league – the Western Premier – and the remainder at Step 6.

Under the new plans, there will be five divisions of up to 18 clubs in each tier.

There will be an additional Step 5 league designed to reduce travel for clubs, which had in some nightmare scenarios created trips from Cornwall to Bristol in the league’s current guise.

READ MORE: Bridport take positives despite 10-0 loss to Weymouth

The FA Leagues Committee have now ratified the series of proposals.

Mark Frost, committee chairman, said: “It is important that as the pyramid evolves, we consider the feedback of clubs and Leagues.

“This issue was raised in a proactive manner by the leagues and we are delighted that we are able to find a solution, while protecting the integrity of fluid promotion and relegation that the pyramid restructure has now enabled.”

Phil Hiscox, South West Peninsula League secretary, said: “The South West is a unique region with challenges for clubs travelling both in terms of time and distance, and more than ever costs as well.

“The new setup will allow the previously disadvantaged clubs a pathway through the national league system which will be both achievable and affordable whilst maintaining a high level of football for those clubs.”

John Pool, Toolstation Western League chairman, said: “It has been the aim from its concept to open up the opportunities for all clubs in the South West to fulfil their aspirations to be able to compete in the national league system.

“The proposals being carried forward to improve the opportunities for clubs has been endorsed by county FAs and relevant leagues, which is much appreciated by all concerned.

“The pathway to the future will allow clubs at all levels to be able to view the new league structure with optimism.’’