The Football Alliance have today announced a major development following lengthy negotiations with the Scottish League, which is that the ten clubs constituting Scotland’s Championship will join the existing national structure from the beginning of the 2017 - 18 season to form a new mainland-wide ‘UK Football Alliance’ competition.
In a further development, the ten clubs from north of the border will be joined by the addition of another dozen from the English regional divisions and two from the Welsh League, bringing the national total to 64 which will be organised into four divisions of 16 teams each. Four of the Scots will play in the newly-expanded Second Division with three each in the also-increased Third and new Fourth Divisions, with champions SG (‘Seren Goch’ = Red Star) Caernarfon and runners-up CPD Porthmadog from Wales joining the Third and Fourth respectively.
Whilst the decision not to place any of the Scottish clubs at the top level, in the Championship, was the subject of a degree of controversy, it was considered that the comparative performance of English and Scottish teams in European competition should be a decisive factor in determining such an outcome, with the Scots’ lack of progress in a continental context - including when in direct opposition, for all that St Johnstone earned a narrow first leg lead over Marine in last season’s Champion Clubs’ Cup before succumbing on aggregate - and its consequent perception of a certain inequality thus resulting in them beginning life in the second tier as their highest point of entry. In the future, it has been proposed that the domestic champions of Scotland will be elevated to national level, replacing the lowest-placed Scottish finisher in the structure unless that club has earned promotion from the Fourth Division in which case they will be immune from demotion and an additional Scottish club will join the national Football Alliance.
The ten Scottish clubs - including one from the Orkney Isles - to feature in the new Alliance will be: