THE league future of Swindon Wildcats has taken another twist following a further restructuring of the new-look NIHL South section for the 2017-18 campaign.

An NIHL South meeting earlier this month had agreed a new format for next season, with NIHL South One being split into two conferences of six teams.

Aaron Nell's Swindon side were due to join Conference B, along with Chelmsford Chieftains, Invicta Dynamos, London Raiders, Peterborough and Streatham, with Basingstoke, Bracknell, Cardiff Fire, Milton Keynes Thunder, Oxford City Stars and Solent Devils in Conference A.

However, the NIHL South's League Management Committee has now revealed that, following the withdrawal of Chelmsford, Oxford, and Solent, Division One South will instead run as one section with the remaining nine clubs.

The teams will play each other twice at home and twice away for a 32-game league season, with the top eight sides qualifying for the post season play-offs.

An NIHL S1 Cup competition will also be operating with details yet to be confirmed.

Chelmsford, Oxford and Solent are understood to have requested a move to NIHL 2, citing the increased costs of putting together a roster for what they say is effectively a new Premier League in South One.

A committee statement said: "It's been a long five days since we were informed of the withdrawal of three member teams from NIHL1.

"We're naturally disappointed, as are our member teams, that the Conference system as agreed in the meeting on the May 7 is not going to be possible to run now.

"Since this happened, we've been consulting with our member teams in both NIHL1 and NIHL2 to resolve the way forward, and it is clear that from discussions that we have nine teams that are committed to the NIHL1 standard and therefore we're pleased to get this information out today.

"It has always been our intention to attempt to return NIHL1 South to 10 teams at the earliest possibly opportunity. Therefore we can confirm that with nine teams in the league there will be no relegation at the end of the 17/18 season.

"For NIHL 2 South we are talking with all clubs involved and working as quickly as possible while ensuring that whatever is put in place is workable and sustainable for all clubs involved this year and going forward."