Plans in motion to introduce new fifth-tier 'Conference' league

A new league comprising of Premiership B teams and sides from the Highland and Lowland League is proposed.

Plans in motion to introduce new fifth-tier ‘Conference’ league to Scottish football SNS Group

Plans for a new ten-team Scottish Conference league including Premiership B teams are under consideration.

The proposals would see the new level of competition introduced just below SPFL League Two in Scottish football’s pyramid structure, and would also feature sides invited from the Highland and Lowland leagues.

Restructure of the leagues to accommodate Colt sides from the top flight clubs has been discussed for some time, with Celtic and Rangers B teams having competed for the last two seasons in the Lowland League and Hearts B team joining the league this season.

Though those teams are keen for competition that will aid the development of players at the crucial age 17-21 stage, that arrangement has no long-term future and has prompted several suggestions for changes to the existing league structures.

Plans to add a fifth level to the existing SPFL structure, a new League Three, would not be likely have sufficient votes within the league body to be passed. A proposal that the existing League Two could be expanded from ten to 16 teams would also fail to get the backing of enough SPFL clubs if put to the vote.

Under the proposals, four Premiership Colts sides would join six clubs from the Highland and Lowland Leagues in the ‘Conference’ league.

Funded by the participating top flight clubs, the Conference would sit below League Two and would be established as a separate company from the SPFL. Promotion and relegation to and from the SPFL would take place.

Because the Conference is a separate entity from the existing SPFL league structure, no formal vote would be required to pass the proposed new division.

The leaked proposals have already drawn criticism, with the manager of non-league side Darvel taking to social media to express his dismay.

Mick Kennedy, who steered the ambitious West of Scotland Premier Division side to Scottish Cup wins over Montrose and Aberdeen, tweeted: “Only in Scotland would league reconstruction to progress our game relegate over 200 clubs, anyone who supports this should be ashamed.

“There a reason the new conference requires no voting power, because they already know it’s wrong on so many levels.”

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