Three Borders clubs admitted to Lowland League

Selkirk and Gala Fairydean will enter the new Lowland League, which kicks off in August.
Selkirk and Gala Fairydean will enter the new Lowland League, which kicks off in August.

Three Borders football clubs have been admitted to the new 12-team Lowland League, which will start in August.

Vale of Leithen, Gala Fairydean and Selkirk have been accepted by a Scottish Football Association working group along with Preston Athletic, Spartans, Edinburgh City, Whitehill Welfare, Gretna 2008, Stirling University, Threave Rovers, Dalbeattie Star and East Kilbride.

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LOWLAND LEAGUE 2013/14

Dalbeattie Star

East Kilbride

Edinburgh City

Gala Fairydean

Gretna 2008

Preston Athletic

Selkirk

Spartans

Stirling University

Threave Rovers

Vale of Leithen

Whitehill Welfare

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The decision will have implications for the East of Scotland League, which will now need to be urgently restructured to take into account the loss of nine teams over its two divisions.

Spartans are hoping to enter a reserve team after pulling their second team out of the junior ranks. Other Lowland League clubs may opt to follow suit. An EGM has been arranged for next week.

The SFA received 17 formal applications for the new Lowland League, which will become the base of Scottish football’s new pyramid system by offering the champions the opportunity to earn promotion to the bottom division of the new Scottish Professional Football League.

There will be no promotion at the end of the forthcoming season, but the champions at the end of the 2014/15 season will play-off with the Highland League champions.

The winners would then advance to another play-off with the club who finish bottom of the Scottish Professional Football League.

The process by which teams would be relegated from or promoted to the new Lowland League has yet to be determined, but it is understood the working party are keen to increase the league from 12 to 16 teams for the start of the 2014/15 season.

East of Scotland League duo Preston Athletic and Spartans, and South of Scotland League side Threave Rovers were guaranteed places in the Lowland League because they already hold SFA national club licences.

Nine other applicants were deemed as having the necessary infrastructure or commitment to achieving SFA licensing standards within the next two years.

The process was open to clubs from the junior ranks, but none was among the 17 formal applications received by Wednesday’s deadline.