Lowland League elects ex-ref Waddell as chairman

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Former Fifa referee Andrew Waddell has been elected as chairman of the newly-constructed Lowland League.

The 63-year-old, who retired from refereeing in 1999, has been a committee member at Preston Athletic – who will compete in the inaugural Lowland League next season – for the past ten years and he will now head up the board of the new set-up.

It has been decided the 12-team league which will form the base of Scottish football’s much vaunted pyramid structure will kick off on 10 August, the same date as the former SFL divisions return to action.

Waddell, who will also represent the new set-up on the SFA’s powerful Professional Game Board, will be assisted on the Lowland League’s six-man board by vice-chairman Andrew Renwick from Whitehill Welfare, treasurer Craig Williamson of Gretna 2008 and board members Andy MacDonald from Edinburgh City, Dalbeattie Star’s Kenny Murray and John McCabe of Spartans. Waddell said: “It’s been a long time in the making. We’ve been talking about this for eight or nine years and it’s nice to get something at the end of it to meet the aspirations we’ve had for a long time. It’s great to cross what is really the starting line, because there are still a number of things to be ironed out, but there are exciting times ahead for the clubs involved, and those who are hopeful of being involved in the future.”

The board is to meet for the first time on Monday, with a number of issues still to be decided, including a logo for the league, the number of substitutes allowed and fees for match officials.

Meanwhile, three of the 12 clubs inducted into the Lowland League are to maintain a presence in the East of Scotland league after opting to field reserve teams in the division. Nine East of Scotland sides gained entry to the Lowland League, along with three from the South of Scotland set-up, and Edinburgh City, Spartans and Stirling University’s second strings will retain their places in a 10-team Premier League, with 11 teams – including a Hibs B team – in the First Division. However, big names like Whitehill Welfare and Preston Athletic have now left the league.