Following information and discussions with the FA, it has been confirmed that at least 20 clubs at Step 4 will have to enter the FA Cup at the Extra Preliminary stage, which is being played on Saturday 11th August.
Therefore, the Southern League have taken the decision to delay the start of the Division One season until Saturday 18th August (Premier Divisions to commence on 11th August). By doing so this will have two advantages:
Those clubs drawn to play in the FA Cup will not have to postpone a Saturday fixture or potentially a midweek fixture if a replay occurs.
Provides an even playing field so that all clubs will be allocated the same number of Saturday and midweek fixtures at the start of the season and therefore no advantage can be implied