Talks underway over possible merger of Halifax Sunday League with Heavy Woollen League

Actions from Lee Mount v Hollins Holme, at Shroggs Park. Pictured is Jordan Ryder and Ryan Jefferys
Actions from Lee Mount v Hollins Holme, at Shroggs Park. Pictured is Jordan Ryder and Ryan Jefferys

Advanced talks are underway about a merger between the Halifax Sunday League and the Heavy Woollen Sunday League.

The possible move was brought about by the Heavy Wollen League, which includes teams from Dewsbury and Brighouse.

Halifax Sunday League clubs voted in favour of holding talks and a delegation of met with their opposite numbers last month.

In-depth talks took place and the details were then shared with the clubs from both competitions at their respective April meetings, at which clubs voted again in favour of pushing forward with further talks.

Halifax Sunday League Fixtures Secretary Andrew Dawson said: “The Heavy Woollen League has a shortage of committee members to continue; this was the main reason for the talks beginning.

“The new management commitee would thus likely be predominantly made up of current Halifax Sunday League members.

“The West Riding County FA have also been present at meetings and advised that the easiest way forward would be for both leagues to fold, should clubs vote in favour, at each AGM and then a new league be formed at an SGM. It was suggested that the new League would be called ‘The Calder Valley Sunday League’”

The Heavy Woollen League currently has 20 teams in two divisions with teams based between Brighouse and Dewsbury, The Halifax Sunday League has 18 teams across two divisions based between Brighouse and Todmorden.

Dawson said Brighouse would be the obvious choice as a base for the league, and that it was likely any new league would have a three-division structure.

“It would have to be decided whether the lower two divisions were regionalised or based on current ability, via respective league table positions.

“Two cup competitions would be maintained, the details of which would need ratifying, as would cup final venues.”

Dawson acknowledged that some Halifax Sunday League clubs had raised concerns about the extra travel distance, but that some are keen for more competitive football and more variety of opponents.

“Ultimately, the club representatives from both current competitions will vote on whether the merger goes ahead,” he said.

“From the Halifax League committees’ point of view, we are elected to provide the football that our clubs want. Irrespective of the final decision, we will maintain Sunday football beyond this, our 50th season and beyond for our current clubs.

“To that end, any new clubs looking to form and join the league should still come forward and we can help with their application.

“The indication is that if the merger does not get voted through, then the Heavy Woollen League would fold without volunteers to run it, so there may be an influx of sides from further east along the Calder Valley regardless of whether the Competitions officially seek to merge.”