Conference League vote: Celtic, Rangers and Hearts to discover B team future as 40 clubs signal intentions

Scottish clubs will vote on Tuesday whether to back a resolution for the introduction of a Conference League which will consist of four B teams and sit below the SPFL as a new fifth tier.

Any new league requires to be ratified by members, therefore the proposals will be put to a 105-member vote at the Scottish FA AGM in the morning. If passed the division would be introduced for the start of the 2024/25 season and involve four B teams, including Celtic, Rangers and Hearts, who currently all play in the Lowland League, as well as the teams who finish in the top two in the Highland League and top four in the Lowland League next season. The B teams, however, would not be able to win promotion or be relegated.

A majority is required for the resolution to pass and abstentions won’t count with a result expected to be announced on Tuesday afternoon.

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The proposals have drawn fierce criticism in some quarters and more than 40 clubs have already come out against the plans. It is viewed by many that the Conference League’s implementation would relegate up to 200 clubs further down the pyramid. Premiership side St Mirren confirmed they are against the league after engaging with stakeholders, including a fans’ survey, and revealed they are “unconvinced” it is the best way" to “improve the development of young Scottish players”.

It is understood the establishment of such a division was a recommendation following the Deloitte Report commissioned by top-flight clubs, including Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs.

SFA chief Ian Maxwell believes the Conference League’s introduction will be beneficial to both player development within Scottish football and for clubs who are relegated from the SPFL, providing “a softer landing for clubs on the way down from League Two, and it means there is an earlier opportunity for clubs on their way up the pyramid”.

"When you look at Croatia, they have had four B teams in their domestic structure,” he said. “I think of the top 10 UEFA nations, seven of them have got B teams in their domestic structure. We think this is the right thing to try."

As things stand, the plans appear unlikely to receive the necessary backing. But this is Scottish football, anything can happen.



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