Celtic, Hearts and Rangers blow as Conference League vote scrapped despite SFA chief's self interest pleas

The planned vote regarding the introduction of a new fifth tier within Scottish football has been scrapped on the eve of the Scottish FA AGM.

A resolution had been put forward for the Conference League which, if passed, would become a reality ahead of the 2024/25 season and consist of four B teams, including Celtic, Hearts and Rangers, as well as the clubs who finished in the top four in the Lowland League and top two in the Highland League from season 2023/24.

The proposal required the backing of the majority of the 105-member vote, scheduled for Tuesday morning. It has since been withdrawn with the SFA board keen to “carry out further consultation”. The Conference League’s proposed introduction had provoked criticism and backlash from fans and clubs with more than 40 confirming plans to vote against the resolution. Premiership sides Livingston and St Mirren confirmed they would be doing so in statements released on Monday.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell had expressed his desire for the proposal to be backed by clubs "from a player development perspective”. He cited the example of Croatia and their use of B teams within the league’s pyramid. Many clubs throughout the pyramid saw the Conference League, which would sit below the SPFL, as relegating up to 200 clubs, while the B teams were unable to be promoted or relegated.

“I get that everybody has a view on what the pyramid should look like,” Maxwell had said ahead of the vote. “Everybody looks at everything that happens in Scottish football through their ‘how-does-it-affect-me?’ glasses. That’s the reality. We’re trying to do the best thing for the national team because that’s got such a big impact on the game in this country. Our national team coaches are already seeing a significant improvement in the standard of those guys who have been playing in a B team against the ones who haven’t.”

A document sent to member clubs confirming the withdrawal of the resolution read: “The Scottish FA Board has received a variety of feedback in respect of Resolution 7 and has concluded that it would like to carry out further consultation in respect of the player pathway to ensure the best development opportunities for Scottish players within the football pyramid.”



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.