Whitletts Victoria Statement – League Reconstruction

Whitletts Victoria Chairman John Dalton believes the ‘overwhelming’ support of West Region clubs in backing two motions put forward by the Club to the West Region of the SJFA Annual General Meeting is a ‘huge step forward’ for the junior game and proves that junior clubs are progressive in their outlook.

The changes agreed at last nights’ (Wednesday) meeting at Hampden Park will result in league reconstruction in the West Region from the existing set up into 4 divisions, each consisting of 16 clubs, from the start of 2018/19 season with league placings based on merit rather than geography.

Meanwhile a second motion put forward by the Club regarding fixture scheduling will result in the opportunity for better advanced promotion of the junior game and proves that there is a desire for change within the junior game.

“We have a fantastic product in junior football. Great entertainment at a low cost to supporters and the idea behind these two motions will afford better opportunities for the promotion of the game by both the Clubs and the Region itself and allow clubs a better opportunity to progress”

“The current league set up has been in place for 15 years and was an outcome to placate some clubs at the time who were against the merger of the Ayrshire and Central Leagues. We are now one region and our future outlook should be as a West Region and not as Ayrshire or Central clubs. It eliminates any them and us mentality that exists and affords clubs better opportunities to build relationships with other clubs.”

“League reconstruction will also provide a level playing field in that every club will have a guarantee of 15 home league matches every season. This will allow clubs to budget accordingly, guaranteeing additional home matches in which to raise revenue through the gate or by means of sponsorship. In the coming season Ayrshire District League (ADL) clubs will have just 10 home league matches which is insufficient to grow and develop a club accordingly, while clubs in the Central First Division will have an extra four games to maximise their income.”

“The new league structure will also provide better guaranteed opportunities for clubs to gain promotion and to establish themselves in the higher level and also rids the game of the anomaly where a club gaining promotion from the ADL will automatically be promoted into the second tier whilst some Central League clubs require to win two promotions before achieving the same outcome.”

“Some clubs expressed their concerns about the increase in travelling to games throughout the region but ambitious clubs just now seeking promotion to the Superleague do so in the knowledge that they have to make those journeys’. Since the formation of the West Region only a handful of clubs have not achieved promotion to the Superleague and with the road network we have now with the M77, M80, M74 and M80 within the region, traveling should not be the issue it once was even 15 years ago.”

The 2017/18 season will be a transition season into the new league set up which will commence in 2018/19 season. An amendment to the original proposal put forward by Larkhall Thistle to have play offs for one season only in the Superleague Premier and First Divisions to ensure the sporting integrity of the game and provide the prospect of relegation in the transitional season was also supported by clubs with the amended motion being passed by a massive 4:1 majority (49 votes to 12)

Clubs also backed by an overwhelming majority, a second motion that will see Clubs get more advanced notice of their fixtures next season.

“This has been a contentious issue for a number of years for some clubs. Only getting one or two weeks’ notice of games makes it very difficult for clubs to maximise their potential by generating additional sponsorship and hospitality but also there is no real structure to the issuing of fixtures. Last season Whitletts played six of our first eight league matches at home which makes it extremely difficult for clubs cash flow throughout the season while we also had the situation where Largs Thistle had an incredible 58 day gap between their final two league matches.”

“By getting notice of fixtures for the first half of the season and then advanced notice of fixtures from New Year onwards, clubs will be able to forward plan for the season ahead. Of course, there will be Scottish Cup replays and postponements due to inclement weather but these matches would simply be arranged for the first available free date, whether that be during or at the end of the season.”

John also acknowledged the role played by other member clubs in the development of the two proposals

“Although these two motions were put forward in the name of Whitletts Victoria, it should be recognised the work that other clubs undertook throughout the whole consultation process to shape the final proposals and the fact that their hard work has been supported by the overwhelming majority of clubs in the West Region is a huge step forward for junior football in the West Region.”


League Reconstruction

The existing league structure consists of the Superleague Premier Division (12 clubs); Superleague First Division (14 clubs); Ayrshire District League (11 clubs); Central First Division (15 clubs) and Central Second Division (12 clubs)

Top two clubs from Superleague First Division are promoted into the Premier League, replacing the bottom two clubs in the top league with a play-off between third bottom of the Premier and third placed club in the Superleague First.

The bottom 4 clubs in the Superleague First Division are relegated into the Ayrshire District League or Central First Division depending on geographical location with the top two clubs in both divisions being promoted. This leads to a fluctuation in the numbers within both leagues. In 2016/17 season, 3 clubs were relegated into the Central First Division with one club relegated into the Ayrshire District League

2017/18 season will be a transition into the new 4 division of 16 clubs set up which will start in 2018/19.

The 4 divisions will be called

  • Premiership
  • Championship
  • League One
  • League Two

The transition will be as follows:

  • Top 4 clubs in the Superleague First Division will be promoted into the Premiership.
  • Bottom two clubs in Superleague Premier Division will play-off against 5th and 6th placed teams in Superleague First Division. The winners shall play in the Premiership with losing clubs playing in the Championship.
  • Top 3 clubs in the ADL and Central First Division will be promoted into the Championship.
  • Bottom two clubs in the Superleague First Division will play-off against 4th placed teams in ADL and Central First Division. The winners will play in the Championship with the losers playing in League One.
  • Top 3 clubs in Central Second Division will be promoted to League One. Clubs 5th – 7th in ADL plus 5th – 12th in Central First Division will also play in League One.
  • Three relegated clubs from Central First Division, club 8th – 11th in ADL plus 4th – 12th placed clubs in Central Second Division will contest League Two.

From 2018/19 onwards, there will be three clubs promoted each season from each division into the higher division with the bottom three clubs in the higher division being relegated


Fixture Scheduling

At the AGM each season, clubs will be given a fixture schedule for matches up to the end of the calendar year.

By 30th November each year, the Regional Secretary will produce a fixture schedule for the second part of the season from January onwards.

Acknowledgement is given that this season will be a transition as the Regional Secretary produces a fixture list at the start of the season up to the Scottish Cup first round ties in September. Therefore, the motion asks that fixtures to the end of the calendar year be produced by the end of August.

No later than 30th November, a fixture list shall be published for the period January – March with the fixtures from April to the end of the season being published by no later than 28th February.

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