BROXBURN ATHLETIC FOOTBALL CLUB
As many of you will all ready know through press and social media, the Scottish Football Association is proposing at the A.G.M. to install a new league in the middle of the pyramid at level five, a so called conference league. We or others currently have not had any documentation regarding this proposal (10/5/23). Whilst we would not normally comment on speculation or rumours, we feel that along with many other clubs at all levels , give our opinion on the uncertainty that these alleged proposal’s are having on Scottish Football. There is generally no smoke without fire and if the suggested proposal goes through it relegates every club currently from tier five downwards relegating over 200 clubs in the current pyramid. Next season (2023/2024) clubs will allegedly play for positions in this new league with sketchy proposals to shoehorn 4 Lowland league, 2 Highland league and at the moment 4 SPFL ‘B’ teams into the pyramid. Clubs from all levels of our game have come out and condemned the move. Unfortunately, although we are members of the SFA we do not have voting powers as they were changed at a SFA A.G.M a few years back prior to us getting our membership That tier 5 clubs and above were only allowed to vote unless historically, i.e., Preston Athletic, Hawick, Coldstream amongst others who can vote. Question? Will the Lowland and Highland league if this goes through still have their vote in Tier 6? .
If the proposal goes through it will leave two stages for any of our clubs to follow in the footsteps of Kelty Hearts, Bonnyrigg Rose, Edinburgh City.
What do we do when trying to sell the club and league to sponsors and backers alike when telling them of our ambitions to get up to the SFL when we tell them it is now at least three seasons instead of two seasons to achieve that goal. The likes of Blackburn Utd, Oakley Utd and Vale of Leithen relegated from the Premier league find themselves in a 2-tier relegation. Linlithgow Rose promoted to the Lowland league find themselves at the same level as the past season if this proposal was to go through this season.
Not only has this a knock on effect for clubs positional wise but the league standards will diminish . No one has thought of the knock-on effect of where we will get the officials from to facilitate this new league. Currently there is a huge shortfall of match officials with a number of occasions this season our Premier league has had no full cover of officials in our premier league as the leagues below us need referee’s. This new league will take 15 officials every game day to officiate at the games. Would time not better be invested in a proper Pyramid where clubs don’t have to play three or more play offs to get their reward for winning the league they have just won. At the moment all the hard work of over a full season winning your league can be wiped out over two games i.e. Brechin City. A simple promotion relegation through out the Pyramid should not be too difficult to implement. We do realise a lot of self interest comes into play with teams looking over their shoulder of the professional organised clubs are climbing up the pyramid and their long-established safe haven is not so save these days with Berwick Rangers and East Stirlingshire prime examples of what the level below them is like in trying to compete and re-establish their status they held for many years
Many clubs have invested heavily in their clubs with ambition to progress up the pyramid the aim of all clubs. The hard work and time that club volunteer’s have dedicated to the club they support is unmeasurable. The club licencing for any club is a costly procedure with audits every season and updates to be adhered to when the criteria is changed.
Whilst it is the ‘B’ team issue that is getting the blame for change we do not think there would be any objections as in other countries where ‘B’ teams compete in lower leagues but for example can not get promoted to the two top tiers of that countries set up. This would mean starting at the bottom rung and working their way forward through promotion and relegation giving the younger players competitive experience instead of playing games for the sake of it.
We would like to think that the integrity of Scottish Football and come to the fore and urge clubs to vote accordingly and not be distracted by the sums of money allegedly being offered by the ‘B’ team clubs to set this up. We urge all football supporter’s to join the campaign no matter who you support to get a proper Pyramid with integrity at its soul.
When we have further information of the proposals we will ask our supporter’s for their input .