A LATE surge in club applications looks set to delay the finalisation of next season’s McDonald’s Worcester and District League make-up.

The league had anticipated running fewer divisions after seven teams resigned at the end of last term.

But secretary Tim Phillips now believes there is a “strong possibility” the league will remain at five divisions.

Club representatives are gathering on Monday night at Claines Royal British Legion Club for the league’s annual general meeting from 7.30pm.

And the league will be asking representatives for more time to interview proposed new clubs before finalising the final constitution.

“We started last season with 57 teams, lost four during the season and received seven further resignations at the end of the season,” said Phillips.

“Various reasons were put forward as to why teams folded, including finance, work patterns and poor facilities but the overriding reason coming from every team that folded was a lack of commitment from players.

“Quite simply football is no longer a priority for a lot of people who have so many other things to do in life. It’s not just around Worcester either, it’s the same all over the county and nationally.

“In fact the Worcestershire FA told me recently the percentage of teams folding in Worcestershire in the last 12 months was four per cent as opposed to a national average of seven.

He continued: “It seemed inevitable we would have to lose a division for next season but there has been a late surge in new applications.

"There is a strong possibility we may be able to retain five divisions next season.

“We will be seeking permission from the meeting to make a final decision on numbers and the make-up of the divisions once we have completed the interviews.

“The decision can then be ratified at the August meeting if everyone agrees. This is not ideal but it’s better to delay things for a week or two if it means there will be more teams in the league.”

Phillips intends to stand for re-election as league secretary for the next 12 months but insists it will be his last campaign in the post.

He says the search for his successor is already under way.

Before the start of the meeting the late John Algie, a former league life member, league vice-chairman and registration secretary, will be remembered along with other members of the football family who have died over the past 12 months.

Presentations will also be made to the secretary and club linesman of the year together with the fair play trophy and divisional golden boot honours.

League fees for next season are to be frozen for a ninth successive year and the league will not be producing a hard copy of the handbook.

“The reasons for this include production and printing costs but the main reason is everything clubs need to know can now be found online on the league website,” said Phillips.

“Any changes, such as a new club secretary, change of colours, phone numbers and email addresses can be done immediately on the website, whereas with the hard copy of a handbook it was often out of date within days of being printed.”