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The Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL) (commonly known as the Lowland League) is a football league operating in central and southern Scotland. 16 teams currently compete in the league with teams drawn from the Lowlands area of Scotland. For the 2018-19 season the league was known as the GeoSonic Lowland League for sponsorship reasons.[1]

Lowland League
Lowland League Logo 2018.png
Founded2013
Country Scotland
Other club(s) from England (1 team)
ConfederationUEFA
Number of teams16
Level on pyramid5
Promotion toScottish League Two
Relegation toEast of Scotland Football League
South of Scotland Football League
Domestic cup(s)Scottish Cup
South Region Challenge Cup
Scottish Challenge Cup (top 4)
Scottish League Cup (champions)
League cup(s)Lowland League Cup
Current championsEast Kilbride (2nd title)
(2018–19)
Most championshipsEdinburgh City
Spartans
East Kilbride
(2 titles)
Websiteslfl.co.uk
2019–20 Lowland Football League

The Lowland League is the fifth tier of the Scottish football pyramid, on a par with the Highland League and above the two Lowlands-based regional leagues. As a creation of the Scottish Football Association, the Lowland League is a full member of the same organisation.

FormatEdit

Teams play each other twice in the league (home and away), receiving three points for a win and one point for a draw. No points are awarded for a loss. At the end of each season, the club with the most points is crowned Lowland League champions. If points are equal, goal difference, and then goals scored determines the champion. If this still does not result in a winner, the tied teams must take part in a championship play-off match at a neutral venue to determine the final placings.[2]

Promotion and relegationEdit

Since 2014–15, promotion to the Scottish Professional Football League is via an annual play-off, beginning with the Lowland League champions facing the champions of the Highland Football League over two legs (home and away).[3] There is no away goals rule so if scores are equal on aggregate after full-time in the second leg, the game will go to extra time, and then penalties if required. The winners will then face a play-off against the bottom club in League Two with the same rules applying.[4][5]

Additionally, the bottom placed club will face relegation to the East of Scotland Football League or South of Scotland Football League depending on their geographical location.[6] The second-bottom club may also face relegation to keep the league at 16 teams, depending on the results of the pyramid play-off.

Promotion to the Lowland League is via a play-off between the winners of the East of Scotland Football League and South of Scotland Football League, subject to both champions meeting league membership criteria. If only one club meets the criteria they will be promoted without a play-off. However, if neither club meets the criteria there will be no promotion to the Lowland League.[7]

HistoryEdit

The Lowland Football League was intended on helping institute a football pyramid including promotion and relegation from Scottish football's senior divisions down to its junior and amateur levels by the Scottish Football Association.[8]

FormationEdit

The Lowland League was founded by a unanimous vote of members of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) on 11 June 2013,[4] The league would be composed of teams drawn from the South of Scotland, East of Scotland and junior leagues, who met on 17 June 2013 to elect between them the founder-members of the new league.[9]

While most clubs were invited to submit bids to join, Preston Athletic, Spartans and Threave Rovers were offered automatic entry as they were already fully licensed by the SFA.[9] While 27 clubs had registered their interest, the Lowland League received 17 applications to join.[10] After the meeting on 17 June, it was announced there would be 12 teams in the league, and that they would be Dalbeattie Star, East Kilbride, Edinburgh City, Gala Fairydean Rovers, Gretna 2008, Preston Athletic, Selkirk, Spartans, Stirling University, Threave Rovers, Vale of Leithen & Whitehill Welfare.[11]

ExpansionEdit

Subsequent seasons have seen the number of participating clubs increase. Two clubs, Edinburgh University and BSC Glasgow, were admitted to the league for the 2014–15 season.[12] They were joined the following season by Cumbernauld Colts.[13] Civil Service Strollers and Hawick Royal Albert joined in June 2016, making it a 16-team league.

Recent historyEdit

The end of the 2015–16 season was the first time that founding members would leave the league; Edinburgh City became the first club to be promoted to the Scottish League, while Threave Rovers declined the opportunity to re-apply to the league after finishing bottom and rejoined the South of Scotland Football League.[14] The same season also saw the first team relegated into the league from Scottish League TwoEast Stirlingshire. In 2016-17 another founding member would leave the league as Preston Athletic were relegated.

In 2017–18 the first promotion play-off took place between the champions of the East of Scotland and South of Scotland leagues, with former SJFA East Region club Kelty Hearts winning 10–0 on aggregate over Threave Rovers to gain promotion.[15]

During the 2018-19 season Selkirk resigned their membership in the league owing to insurmountable difficulties.[16] It was agreed by the Lowland League board that all fixtures played by and to be played by Selkirk in 2018-19 would be expunged from the record along with any other data involving Selkirk for that season. The Lowland League moved forward with 15 clubs, however Whitehill Welfare, who finished bottom in the season's competition, were still relegated to the East of Scotland League.[17][18] East of Scotland champions Bonnyrigg Rose were promoted to the league after gaining their SFA membership.[19][20] Berwick Rangers became the second club to be relegated into the league from the SPFL, having lost the League Two play-off against Cove Rangers.[21]

At the start of the 2019-20 season Edusport Academy rebranded the club as the Caledonian Braves following a vote online by members of the Our Football Club.com project.[22] [23]

Member clubsEdit

Team Location Stadium Capacity Seats
Berwick Rangers Berwick-upon-Tweed Shielfield Park 4,099 1,366
Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic Bonnyrigg New Dundas Park 2,200 0
BSC Glasgow Alloa Recreation Park[a] 3,100 919
Caledonian Braves Motherwell Alliance Park 500 100
Civil Service Strollers Edinburgh Christie Gillies Park 1,569 100
Cumbernauld Colts Cumbernauld Broadwood Stadium 7,936 7,936
Dalbeattie Star Dalbeattie Islecroft Stadium 1,320 100
East Kilbride East Kilbride K Park 660 400
East Stirlingshire Falkirk Falkirk Stadium[b] 7,937 7,937
Edinburgh University Edinburgh New Peffermill Stadium 1,100 100
Gala Fairydean Rovers Galashiels 3G Arena, Netherdale 2,000 500
Gretna 2008 Gretna Raydale Park 1,030 138
Kelty Hearts Kelty New Central Park 2,660 353
Spartans Edinburgh Ainslie Park 3,612 534
Stirling University Stirling Forthbank Stadium[c] 3,808 2,508
Vale of Leithen Innerleithen Victoria Park 1,500 0
Notes
  1. ^ BSC Glasgow are ground-sharing with Alloa Athletic due to the lack of a suitable venue in Glasgow.
  2. ^ East Stirlingshire are ground-sharing with Falkirk.
  3. ^ Stirling University are ground-sharing with Stirling Albion.

All grounds are equipped with floodlights except Christie Gillies Park (Civil Service Strollers) and Victoria Park (Vale of Leithen)

SeasonsEdit

Season Champions Runners-up Relegated Play-off winner
2013–14 Spartans Stirling University Does not appear Does not appear
2014–15 Edinburgh City East Kilbride Does not appear Does not appear
2015–16 Edinburgh City * (2) Spartans Threave Rovers S Does not appear
2016–17 East Kilbride East Stirlingshire Preston Athletic E Does not appear
2017–18 Spartans (2) East Kilbride (2) Hawick Royal Albert E Kelty Hearts E
2018–19 East Kilbride (2) BSC Glasgow Whitehill Welfare E Does not appear
* Team promoted to Scottish League Two
E Team relegated to or promoted from the East of Scotland Football League
S Team relegated to the South of Scotland Football League

Lowland League CupEdit

This 16 team straight knock-out tournament takes place over four weekends at the end of the league season. The league champion has the right to withdraw from the competition to concentrate on the Scottish League Two play-offs.

Season Winner Score Runners–up
2013–14 Stirling University 5–2[24] Preston Athletic
2014–15 East Kilbride 3–1[25] Gretna 2008
2015–16 East Kilbride 0–0 AET
4–2 on penalties[26]
Gretna 2008
2016–17 Spartans 3–0[27] BSC Glasgow
2017–18 Cumbernauld Colts 3–1[28] Selkirk
2018–19 BSC Glasgow 2–1[29] East Stirlingshire

SponsorshipEdit

On 24 September 2013, the Scottish Sun newspaper was revealed to be the first sponsor of the league.[30] The league was then sponsored by Ferrari Packaging on a two-year agreement, which was extended to cover the 2017–18 season.[31] In August 2018, GeoSonic, the Alloa-based sonic drilling contractor, concluded a one-year deal to become the new title sponsor of the Scottish Lowland Football League for the 2018-19 season.[1]

Media coverageEdit

The league has its own official weekly podcast known as The Lowland League Catchup.[32] As well as weekly previews to games, and reviews known as the Roundup.[33]

On 19 September 2018, the SLFL also agreed a comprehensive media partnership with RockSport Radio.[34]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Lowland League Announces New Title Sponsor - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Scottish Lowland Football League Constitution and Rules" (PDF). Scottish Lowland Football League. 20 July 2018. p. 16. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  3. ^ Park, Michael (30 March 2018). "Playoff Dates Confirmed". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Scottish FA approves Lowland League for next season". BBC Sport. 11 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Cowdenbeath 1-1 East Kilbride AET (penalties 5-3)". 20 May 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  6. ^ "ALBERT HIT ROCK BOTTOM". www.hawick-news.co.uk. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  7. ^ "LOWER PYRAMID PLAY - OFF COMPETITION RULES" (PDF). Lowland Football League. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  8. ^ "George Peat's Scottish football pyramid plan quickly bogged down in political sands". The Telegraph. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Scottish clubs approve creation of Lowland League as part of pyramid". STV. 11 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Dozen clubs to play in Scottish Lowland Football League announced". STV. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Scottish Lowland Football League clubs selected". Scottish FA. 17 June 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Lowland League announces new members for next season". BBC Sport. BBC. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Cumbernauld Colts admitted to Lowland League". Lowland Football League. Lowland League. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  14. ^ Gillespie, Stuart (5 June 2016). "Threave Rovers' South of Scotland League return confirmed after three years in the Lowland League". Daily Record. Retrieved 10 August 2016.
  15. ^ Gillespie, Stuart (18 May 2018). "No promotion for Threave". dailyrecord. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Selkirk FC Resign from Scottish Lowland League - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 28 August 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Lowland League Relegation Confirmed - News - Whitehill Welfare". www.whitehillwelfare.co.uk. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Relegation Confirmed - News - Whitehill Welfare". www.whitehillwelfare.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  19. ^ "CLUB ANNOUNCEMENT - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic granted SFA membership - News - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic - Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic FC". www.bonnyriggrosefc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Statement - Promotion and Relegation". Scottish Lowland League. 14 June 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  21. ^ "Berwick Rangers 0-3 Cove Rangers (agg 0-7): Cove replace Berwick in senior set-up". 18 May 2019. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  22. ^ Marketing. "Caledonian Braves - NLL Latest News - NL Leisure". www.nlleisure.co.uk. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  23. ^ "Home". Our Football Club. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  24. ^ https://www.stir.ac.uk/footballclub/report/2013-14/270414lowlandleaguecupfinal/
  25. ^ http://gretnafc2008.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/gretna-fc-2008-1-east-kilbride-3.html?spref=tw
  26. ^ http://www.pieandbovril.com/forum/index.php?/topic/230937-lowland-league-cup-final/
  27. ^ http://www.bscglasgow.co.uk/bscglasgownews/bsc-glasgow-0-spartans-3-22-05-17.html
  28. ^ http://slfl.co.uk/tournament/ferrari-packaging-lowland-league-cup/
  29. ^ http://slfl.co.uk/lowland-league-cup-final-details/
  30. ^ "We're league leaders". Scottish Sun. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  31. ^ Thomson, Paul (30 July 2015). "East Kilbride packaging firm wrap up sponsorship deal with Lowland League". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  32. ^ "Lowland League Catchup (@OfficialCatchup) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  33. ^ "News - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Lowland League & Rocksport Sign Media Partnership - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

External linksEdit