The Amateur Football Combination comprises a number of large clubs (running up to nine sides) as well as smaller clubs (many running one team). To accommodate the wide variety of clubs, the League Structure (Constitution) is "open", with all teams playing within one single pyramid to ensure sides of a similar standard play against each other where possible. Sides are not placed in "sections" (1st XI section, 2nd XI section) which would reduces the opportunity for competition - if a large club's 4th XI is on a playing par with a small club's 1st XI we don't keep them apart.
Regionalised football is acknowledged to be a key requirement of clubs, and we try to ensure as much regionalisation as possible with Northern & Southern sections for all but the top two divisions. However, at the highest level we wish to have the strongest sides in senior divisions, hence the pyramid. Where possible, we try to ensure promotion and relegation for sides to ensure they can reach the correct level. No two teams from the same club shall be allowed to play in the same division.
At the end of each season, where possible, the top two sides from each division are promoted. This may mean that more than two sides need to be relegated from higher divisions at certain places in the pyramid. Ten or eleven team divisions (18 or 20 games) are considered to be the optimum. We do not want the season to end too early for clubs who are not successful in cups but nor do we wish to burden clubs with successful cup runs with too many midweek games in April and May.
Clubs operating closed squad systems in breach of Rule 10e are not rewarded, and this may include having titles withheld.
New clubs are generally placed within the league structure according to their standard, and not "expected to work their way up from the bottom". This will be closely monitored and may be adjusted at the end of their early seasons.
At the end of the season the Constitution Committee meet to agree a structure for the new season. This takes into account promotion and relegation, introduction and withdrawal of new sides and clubs, as well as other factors (clubs moving grounds, sometimes into different regions). This structure is then sent out to clubs for comments before a revised structure is presented at the league AGM.