Scottish Football Association members have unanimously approved the formation of a new Lowland League.
Up to 16 teams from the South of Scotland, East of Scotland and Scottish Junior leagues could join the new division as early as next season.
It is proposed that the winners of the Lowland League would compete with the Highland League champions for a place in Scotland’s lowest senior division. However, such promotion would not come into force until season 2014-15.
SFA president Campbell Ogilvie said “a major step forward for league reconstruction” had been achieved.
He added: “The members clearly share our view that we need to create opportunities for clubs currently outwith the senior set-up to aspire to emulate the success of Inverness and Ross County on a meritocracy. To my knowledge we are now in a position where we have a national competition underpinned by two regional competitions, which paves the way for a pyramid for Scottish football, to become part of the game for the first time. For ambitious clubs wanting to see their club go from parkland to professional stadium, what a great opportunity this decision presents them with.”