The merger of the Western League and South West Peninsula League appears to be under threat after the two leagues failed to agree on a new committee.
The official launch of the new Western Peninsula League is set to take place in just over a month's time at Exeter Chiefs' Sandy Park, on Thursday, March 16.
But a continuing row over the new committee's make-up has led to highly-rated SWPL secretary Phil Hiscox resigning from the steering committee, as has Mike Pett (Chairman SWP) and Tracy Banfield (Proposed Welfare Officer), while Keith Mann has confirmed his withdrawal of acceptance of a place on the proposed board.
In a letter to Laurence Jones, the head of the National League System, Hiscox said: "Following on from previous emails and discussions and your kind invitation to a Teams meeting last week etc where efforts were made by the SWP members present to reach an amicable way forward, I have to report further.
"I am aware that Peter Stevenson and John Pool (WL chairman) have spoken several times since and discussed potential solutions, but the only compromise afforded by the Western League would be for George McCaffery (WL Fixtures Secretary) to do the Step 5 admin and offer myself a role doing Step 6.
"This is not something I could ever agree to as it's both insulting to my experience, would create a two-tier system that is unfair on the clubs, and a flagrant breach of the promise John made at the very start of this journey, where he clearly stated: 'You have earned the right to choose what you want to do Phil'.
"We would have accepted the numerical imbalance of both officers and directors IF, and only IF, we could rely on his word, but sadly this is not the case. Without any real movement from John and the WL contingent, what remains on the table cannot be looked upon as anything other than a takeover of football in the South West by the Western League, with the SWP only having three of the nine officers and the Western League having Chairman, Vice Chairman, Company Secretary, Fixtures Secretary, Ground Grading Officer and Match Officials Director to our three of General Secretary, Treasurer and Welfare Officer.
"If the league does go ahead with this situation (and the need behind the restructure itself to reduce travel is accepted by us), the proposed new league will start on a negative footing which will only add to the problems of trying to marry up two existing competitions and that would not be in the best interests of any of the member clubs of either existing league.
"At the start of this journey, John Pool and I shook hands in front of witnesses at Wembley and agreed a "merger of equals" and further, that our own ambitions would be put aside, if necessary, for the good of football and the member clubs.
"Regrettably under that test, I feel I must now withdraw from this project as my presence is clearly a hindrance, whether Mr Pool also considers his own position on this is a matter for his own conscience."
Hiscox added: "I will continue to administer the SWPL and should the FA leagues committee, either now or in the future, wish to revisit the structure in any way, I and the SWP officers remain willing and open to further discussion, with the FA.
"I have enjoyed being involved in football administration for many, many years, and I have always appreciated the support of many fine club officials, who are the lifeblood of our level of the game.
"I am only sorry that my time, and that of other SWP members on the steering committee, who worked so hard on this project, has not ultimately brought forward what we had hoped to achieve for their benefit. Those very clubs had deserved so much better than this situation."
It looks like the FA are going have to sort the situation out, and one option could be to prevent the merger occurring at all.