Bonnyrigg Rose have won their battle for SFA membership after more than a month of uncertainty, and will compete in the Lowland League next season.
The club confirmed on Friday morning that, despite their application and a subsequent appeal being rejected, the SFA had performed a U-turn and approved membership. The statement read:
"We are pleased to announce that we have had confirmation from the SFA this morning that our application for SFA membership has been approved with immediate effect."
Rose's delayed promotion confirms Whitehill Welfare's relegation from the fifth tier of Scottish football. The Rosewell-based club will play its games in the East of Scotland League next term.
A statement from Rose, which thanked the Lowland League, the SFA and Welfare read: "While we have received positive news, we also recognise that today's announcement means that Whitehill Welfare will have received confirmation of their relegation to the East of Scotland league.
"They have been waiting for the same clarity that we have and both clubs have been in limbo for the past few months. We hope that like us, it allows them to get on with their plans for next season.
"Both their manager and assistant manager were decorated players with us and they have also signed our top scorer from last season; we wish them nothing but the best for next season."
Despite winning the East of Scotland promotion play-offs and a place in next season’s Lowland League, the club was initially denied a licence due to the lack of floodlights at New Dundas Park - despite the club striking a deal with Midlothian Council to install floodlights over the summer, thus meeting the Association's updated criteria in time for the start of the 2019/20 season.
An announcement from the club last month informed supporters that SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell had informed Rose that there was “no appeal route available for clubs going through the application process”.
Following the rejection of the appeal, a club spokesman said: “This is not the end of the road for us, as despite the labyrinthine nature of the different articles and licensing documents, there is still one option open to us which we are seeking guidance on from parties outside of the club whether to pursue.”
“We owe it to our players and supporters to explore every available option to us until each of those options have been exhausted.”