West of Scotland Football League

The West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) is a senior football league based in the west of Scotland. The league sits at levels 6–10 on the Scottish football league system, acting as a feeder to the Lowland Football League.

West of Scotland Football League
Country Scotland
Number of teams80
Level on pyramid6–10
Promotion toLowland Football League
Domestic cup(s)Scottish Cup (SFA licensed clubs and Premier Division winners)
South Region Challenge Cup
Scottish Junior Cup (SJFA members)
League cup(s)West of Scotland League Cup
Strathclyde Cup (Neither SFA nor SJFA members only)
Current championsBeith Juniors (2nd title)
Current: 2024–25 West of Scotland Football League

Founded in 2020, it is currently composed of 80 member clubs competing in five divisions. Geographically, the league covers Argyll & Bute, Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire. Two clubs are also based in Dumfries and Galloway.

Since its formation, it has featured in the senior pyramid system. The winners take part in an end of season promotion play-off with the East of Scotland Football League and South of Scotland Football League champions, subject to clubs meeting the required licensing criteria.

History edit

Formation edit

Talks to integrate all of the Scottish Junior Football Association clubs into the senior pyramid structure below the SPFL had been taking place for a number of years, however discussions at the Scottish Football Association's pyramid working group had broken down in early 2020.[1] In February 2020 the Lowland and East of Scotland leagues invited clubs to express their interest in the formation of a new West of Scotland league at tier 6,[2] with a majority of SJFA West Region clubs submitting emails.[3] The next month, clubs were invited to information meetings and applications were opened to join the league.[4][5]

On 14 April 2020, the Lowland League announced it had approved 67 applications for the new league, which included all 63 clubs from the Scottish Junior Football Association's West Region,[a] and four others: Glasgow amateurs Drumchapel United and Glasgow University, Kilmarnock side Bonnyton Thistle moving sideways from the South of Scotland League and Newton Mearns-based youth club St Cadoc's Youth Club from the Paisley, Johnstone & District League.[6]

Initial plans for the inaugural season would have seen the league operate a conference format in order to facilitate all 67 clubs at the same level. However, following a video conference with the Scottish Football Association, the league was split into a top tier and lower divisions, similar to that utilised by the East of Scotland Football League.[7]

On 1 May 2020, the League confirmed that a top division of 20 teams would contest the first season in 2020–21, comprising the 16 teams who had played in the 2019–20 West Region Premiership, the top three places from the West Championship and one moving 'sideways' from the South of Scotland Football League.[7] This ran contrary to some clubs' expectations that the inaugural campaign would not use a hierarchical system,[8][9] but the league stated "that option was not on the table" due to legal issues. Teams below the top division would be distributed into three balanced conferences;[10] The list for which was published three days later.[11]

Impact of Covid edit

On 17 September 2020, the League announced that the Premier Division would be split into two groups based on the Points Per Game formula that was used to declare the league winners of the SJFA West Region. There would be two phases to the season. In Phase 1, teams would play other teams within their group twice, home and away. Phase 2 consisted of a further ten games, five home and five away, with teams being drawn against teams from the other group.[12] However, the league reverted to a normal home and away format following a number of withdrawals from the initial season.[13]

On 11 January 2021 the league was suspended by the Scottish Football Association due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic situation.[14]

Expansion edit

On 12 May 2021, the league announced the formation of the Development League, with nine teams becoming initial members. The Development League became Division 4 when the WOSFL changed to a linear structure for the 2022–23 season. Teams in the Development League will only be promoted if they meet specified ground criteria.[15]

Since formation, a number of clubs have successfully applied to join the league, or have taken over existing clubs, and currently the league runs at its maximum capacity of 80 clubs in 5 divisions. Examples include Harthill Royal joining in 2021–22 (though left the following season), and Threave Rovers joining in 2022–23. Annbank United remain in abeyance.

Member clubs edit

After running with a Premier Division of 20 clubs and three Tier 7 Conferences of 15 or 16 clubs during its transitional 2021–22 season, the WoSFL has since switched to a linear structure with the Premier, First, Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions now each containing 16 teams.

Listed below are the 80 clubs in the WoSFL for the 2024–25 season. Three clubs are promoted and relegated between each division.

Premier Division edit

Seasons edit

Season Premier Division Tier 7 Conferences
2020–21 Null and void[16]
Premier Division Tier 7 Conferences Division Four League Cup
2021–22 Darvel A: Arthurlie
B: Cambuslang Rangers
C: Petershill
Finnart Hurlford United
Premier Division First Division Second Division Third Division Fourth Division League Cup
2022–23 Beith Juniors Gartcairn Renfrew Vale of Clyde West Park United Auchinleck Talbot
2023–24 Beith Juniors (2) Drumchapel United Ardrossan Winton Rovers Lanark United Glenvale Darvel

Cup competitions edit

  • Scottish Cup (sponsored by Scottish Gas): For clubs with an SFA licence and the Premier Division winners, who all enter at the preliminary round stage. Knock-out tournament without no replays.[17]
  • SFA South Region Challenge Cup: Introduced in 2007–08 as a replacement for the Scottish Qualifying Cup (South) which was abolished under the new Scottish Cup format. It is for all senior non-league clubs in the south of Scotland and has 163 entrants for the 2023–24 season – 16 from the Lowland League, 56 from the EoSFL, 11 from the SoSFL, and 80 from the WoSFL. Reserve teams do not take part. The first and second rounds are regionalised, otherwise it is a straight knock-out tournament without replays, with drawn matches going to extra time.
  • Strathclyde Cup (sponsored by Strathclyde Demolition): Competition for the 17 WoSFL clubs who are neither SFA nor SJFA members, usually played on the same weekends as Junior Cup matches. Straight knock-out tournament, without replays. The winner goes on to play in the East, South and West of Scotland Cup-Winners Shield against the East's Alex Jack Cup winner and the Southern Counties FA's Alba Cup winners for a place in the following season's Scottish Cup.
  • West of Scotland League Cup (sponsored by Indigo Unified Communications): All 80 WoSFL sides compete in this knock-out tournament without replays, drawn matches go straight to a penalty shootout. Similar to the West of Scotland Junior Cup, which was for all clubs in the former SJFA West Region.
  • Scottish Junior Cup (sponsored by Clydebuilt Home Improvements): Competition for the 53 WoSFL clubs who remain members of the SJFA after moving from the Junior leagues. Knock-out tournament without replays, drawn matches go straight to a penalty shootout, two legged semi-finals.

Holders edit

2023–24 winners unless stated

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ Wilson, Fraser (1 February 2020). "Junior football pyramid talks hit a wall - what now?". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  2. ^ Team, Media (12 February 2020). "Pyramid Statement". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  3. ^ Team, Media (6 March 2020). "Statement - Pyramid Update". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  4. ^ Team, Media (24 March 2020). "West of Scotland League Update". Scottish Lowland League. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  5. ^ Wilson, Fraser (13 February 2020). "Plans for SPFL pyramid expansion leave juniors staring at uncertain future". Daily Record. Retrieved 4 July 2023.
  6. ^ "Pyramid Update – 67 Applications Approved". Scottish Lowland League. 14 April 2020. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  7. ^ a b "West of Scotland League structure confirmed with top flight of 20". Daily Record. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  8. ^ Junior clubs threaten revolt over pyramid move amid claims they've been conned, Daily Record, 2 May 2020
  9. ^ Shotts plot West of Scotland league revolt after 20-team tier six snub, Daily Record, 6 May 2020
  10. ^ Every word of the West of Scotland League statement confirming bumper tier six after initial SFA KO, Daily Record, 1 May 2020
  11. ^ Pirie, Mark (4 May 2020). "West of Scotland League unveil full conference list ahead of huge non-league overhaul". Daily Record. Reach plc. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Division Structures for 2020/21 – West of Scotland Football League". Retrieved 17 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Update: 13th October 2020". Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  14. ^ "West of Scotland League chairman admits season may not be concluded amid Covid football suspension". www.msn.com. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  15. ^ McGowan, Eric (12 May 2021). "Nine new teams join WoSFL with more to follow as new league gets green light". Daily Record. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  16. ^ "End of Season Statement – West of Scotland Football League". Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Scottish Cup replays removed for 2022/23 season".

External links edit