News broke this week that there would be likely be at least one new team in next season’s Essex Senior League.

Hackney Wick, who currently play in Division One of the Middlesex County League announced on their website that they would be merging with an unnamed Senior League club.

The merger would see the club effectively take over a current ESL club, retaining the name “Hackney Wick”, and being run by Wick’s committee.

Wadham Lodge were quick to eliminate rumors that they were the ESL club, leaving many thinking it would be Haringey & Waltham. Wick have been coy on the subject, releasing a series of increasingly cryptic tweets.

However, the Football Association’s rules on mergers could prove to be problematic, particularly the following two points:

Rule 6.5: If two or more Clubs (“the Merging Clubs”) are proposing a transaction or series of transactions that result in the merging or consolidation (“the Proposed Merger”) of those Clubs into one Club (“the Merged Club”) then a formal application to do so must be received by the LC and the league(s) of which the Merging Clubs are members by 31 December

Rule 6.5 (v): The Merged Club will ordinarily be placed at the lower of the Steps at which the Merging Clubs ended the Playing Season in which the application is made. For the purposes of this Regulation, if one of the Merging Clubs has finished that Playing Season in a relegation place, then they will be deemed to have ended the Playing Season at the Step to which they would have been relegated without the Proposed Merger proceeding.

Despite this, the Essex Senior League has historically struggled for numbers, and may use some discretion to override the above rules.

With the 2016-17 not yet finished, there could well be a long summer of speculation in store.

Hackney Wick are managed by former Leyton Pennant goalkeeper Kenny Addai, and former Forest front-man Declan Perkins in their Vice Chairman.

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