‘This is not the end of the road’ - Bonnyrigg Rose fail in bid to overturn SFA licence decision

A general view of New Dundas Park, home of Bonnyrigg Rose. Picture: SNS Group
A general view of New Dundas Park, home of Bonnyrigg Rose. Picture: SNS Group
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Bonnyrigg Rose have failed in a bid to overturn the rejection of their application for an SFA licence, denying them the chance to compete in the Lowland League next season.

The East of Scotland Conference B winners are exploring every option in their bid to overturn the decision, of which they were informed via email around ten days ago.

The club were 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 updated criteria in time for the start of the 2019/20 Lowland League season.

An announcement from the club on Friday night informed supporters that SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell had responded to their appeal, stressing that there was “no appeal route available for clubs going through the application process”.

Maxwell added: “I appreciate that the floodlighting criteria was added during your application process. We found ourselves in the unusual position of having 12 clubs apply for membership at roughly the same time and had to consider the impact this influx would have.”

The former Partick Thistle chief added: “As you are aware the new Scottish Cup broadcasting contract includes televised fixtures in rounds 1, 2 and 3 which will provide an excellent platform for the lower levels of the game in this country.

“The BBC have the right to choose matches at variable kick off times, which may well require floodlighting at venues given the time of year, meaning that the number of games available for selection could be severely limited.”

Coincidentally, the club received planning consent yesterday [Friday] from the authority to begin installing the floodlights, with work scheduled to begin early next week. Rose are keen to have the lights in place as soon as possible and are foregoing grant funding which would have been available to them had they followed their original plans.

A spokesman said the club were “disappointed but not altogether surprised” that the appeal had been rejected, but vowed to “explore every available option” adding: “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.”

The “stark reality at present is that we have swapped one glass ceiling for another,” the spokesman added.

• The club have set up a funding page to help pay for the costs of installing the floodlights, and are asking fans and local businesses to donate. The link can be found at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/brfcmayappeal