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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 is known as the GeoSonic Lowland League for sponsorship reasons.[1]

Lowland League
Lowland League Logo 2018.png
Founded2013
CountryScotland
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
2018–19 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.

Contents

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]

Recent historyEdit

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 the league in June 2016.

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 2018-19 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.[17]

The League will return to 16 clubs for season 2019-20 as per the current rules.[18]

Member clubsEdit

Team Location Stadium Capacity Seats Floodlit
BSC Glasgow Alloa Recreation Park 3,100 919 Yes
Civil Service Strollers Edinburgh Christie Gillies Park 1,569 100 No
Cumbernauld Colts Cumbernauld Broadwood Stadium 7,936 7,936 Yes
Dalbeattie Star Dalbeattie Islecroft Stadium 4,000 250 Yes
East Kilbride East Kilbride K Park 660 400 Yes
East Stirlingshire Falkirk Falkirk Stadium[19] 7,937 7,937 Yes
Edinburgh University Edinburgh New Peffermill Stadium 1,100 100 Yes
Edusport Academy Annan Galabank 2,504 500 Yes
Gala Fairydean Rovers Galashiels 3G Arena, Netherdale 5,500 495 Yes
Gretna 2008 Gretna Raydale Park 3,000 1,318 Yes
Kelty Hearts Kelty New Central Park 3,000 350 Yes
Spartans Edinburgh Ainslie Park 3,000 504 Yes
Stirling University Stirling Forthbank Stadium 3,808 2,508 Yes
Vale of Leithen Innerleithen Victoria Park 1,500 0 No
Whitehill Welfare Rosewell Ferguson Park 4,000 150 No

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[20] Preston Athletic
2014–15 East Kilbride 3–1[21] Gretna 2008
2015–16 East Kilbride 0–0 AET
4–2 on penalties[22]
Gretna 2008
2016–17 Spartans 3–0[23] BSC Glasgow
2017–18 Cumbernauld Colts 3–1[24] Selkirk

SponsorshipEdit

On 24 September 2013, the Scottish Sun newspaper was revealed to be the first sponsor of the league.[25] The league was then sponsored by Ferrari Packaging on a two-year agreement, which was extended to cover the 2017–18 season.[26] 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.[1]

Media coverageEdit

The league has its own official weekly podcast known as The Lowland League Catchup.[27] As well as weekly previews to games, and reviews known as the Roundup.[28]

On 19 September 2018, the SLFL also agreed a comprehensive media partnership with RockSport Radio.[29]

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. ^ "Selkirk's Resignation: What Happens Next? - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  19. ^ East Stirlingshire will ground-share with Falkirk at the Falkirk Stadium for the duration of the 2018–19 season.
  20. ^ https://www.stir.ac.uk/footballclub/report/2013-14/270414lowlandleaguecupfinal/
  21. ^ http://gretnafc2008.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/gretna-fc-2008-1-east-kilbride-3.html?spref=tw
  22. ^ http://www.pieandbovril.com/forum/index.php?/topic/230937-lowland-league-cup-final/
  23. ^ http://www.bscglasgow.co.uk/bscglasgownews/bsc-glasgow-0-spartans-3-22-05-17.html
  24. ^ http://slfl.co.uk/tournament/ferrari-packaging-lowland-league-cup/
  25. ^ "We're league leaders". Scottish Sun. 24 September 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  26. ^ Thomson, Paul (30 July 2015). "East Kilbride packaging firm wrap up sponsorship deal with Lowland League". Daily Record. Glasgow. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  27. ^ "Lowland League Catchup (@OfficialCatchup) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 27 February 2019.
  28. ^ "News - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  29. ^ "Lowland League & Rocksport Sign Media Partnership - Scottish Lowland League". Scottish Lowland League. 19 September 2018. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

External linksEdit