THE National League will run with 23 clubs next season if troubled Leyton Orient are not in a position to kick off the campaign.

FA regulations mean that the constitution of divisions cannot be changed following annual general meetings, meaning York City’s chances of a relegation reprieve are definitely over.

Uncertainty over Orient’s future remains with no pre-season friendlies yet organised, season-tickets not for sale and only 12 players on the books.

Despite a reported £250,000 tax bill having been settled to avoid a winding-up order earlier this week, there are also rumours that debts to other creditors of the Brisbane Road club have not yet been met.

The East Londoners, who have had 11 different managers in three years, were accepted into the National League during the body’s AGM at Celtic Manor over the weekend.

In 2014, Hereford were expelled and Salisbury demoted from the Conference, as the National League was then named, for financial irregularities and a failure to pay off debts respectively.

Both had finished their seasons outside of the relegation zone, but Chester and Dartford, who finished fourth and third-bottom respectively, learned they would be staying up in mid-June.

Should Orient now encounter more off-the-pitch problems, though, during coming weeks, it will now come too late to prevent the Minstermen from plying their trade in National League North during 2017/18.

National League spokesman Colin Peake said: “Leyton Orient were present at the AGM and were accepted into the National League and are part of the constitution. We now expect them to carry on in accordance with the rules and regulations of the National League and we’ve not heard anything else to suggest the contrary.

“They have complied with everything and the next step will be approving their pre-season budget by the end of June. Nothing can happen now to the division and, even if they dropped out of the league tomorrow, we would run one club short, because the constitution can’t be changed after the AGM.

“That’s an FA regulation. You can only transfer clubs from divisions before an AGM so, in regards to York City, they will definitely be in National League North for 2017/18.”

If Orient were unable to fulfil their fixtures next season, then it is expected that only three sides would be relegated from the National League.

Two teams – the champions and play-off winners – would, therefore, still be promoted from both the National League’s North and South divisions.

It has been confirmed, meanwhile, that the National League North and South’s play-off finals for 2017/18 will be staged on Sunday, May 13 with a 3pm kick off at the homes of the finalists who finished highest in the table during the regular season.

Wembley will continue to host the National League play-off final, which will be staged 24 hours earlier.