No deal yet on Northern League and Palace Shield merger

Northern Premier League clubs have agreed '“ in principle '“ in favour of a merger with the Palace Shield.

Thursday, 8th December 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:48 pm
Lancaster and Morecambe currently ply their trade in the Northern Premier League.

But it is not yet a done deal as the ball has now been thrown back in the court of the Palace Shield clubs – including Torrisholme and Garstang – to say whether they are in favour of a go-ahead at their AGM this Monday.

If a merger was agreed then promotion and relegation between the two leagues would apply in time for the start of the 2018 season.

One potential sticking point has emerged; that concerns Cumbrian clubs Barrow and Penrith, who compete in the Northern Premier League alongside Morecambe and Lancaster.

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Some Palace Shield clubs are said to have reservations of making such a lengthy away trip.

Another potential problem regarding a merger is that the Lancashire League may make overtures again to invite NPL clubs to take part in their set-up, with Darwen making the move next season.

A previous attempt fell through after some NPL clubs, including Morecambe, showed initial interest about joining.

Leagues are in negotiations about their future structures in a bid to maintain their ‘premier’ status under ECB rules with promotion and relegation one of their requirements.