SPFL reveals pyramid play-offs in doubt due to ‘several issues’

The league body will take a decision on the play-offs later this month.

SPFL reveals pyramid play-offs in doubt due to ‘several issues’ Craig Williamson via SNS Group
The SPFL say "uncertainties" mean they can't confirm the end of season games.

The Scottish Professional Football League has revealed that there are “several issues” that may affect the end of season ‘pyramid play-off’ games.

The news came at the same time the league announced that Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson was to step down from the SPFL board, with his side likely to be affected by the decision.

The play-offs are contested at the end of the regular season, where the winners of a two-legged tie between the Highland League champions and the Lowland League winners then face the bottom side in SPFL League 2 with a place in the league the prize for the victor.

The play-offs were introduced to allow access to the senior league set-up for all clubs in Scottish football’s pyramid.

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However, the league now say that they will have to take a decision on this season’s games because of “several issues”.

In a statement released on Friday, the SPFL noted that this season’s Highland and Lowland league champions had only played three and 13 games respectively, after the competitions were abandoned due to the pandemic.

Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts were scheduled to meet in the first leg of their play-off later this month but those games are now in serious doubt.

The fixtures, and the final against the League Two bottom side, will only now be confirmed if the SPFL decide that Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts meet the league’s membership criteria. That discussion will take place in a meeting on Aprtil 19.

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A spokesman for the SPFL said: “Given that there are a number of uncertainties, including whether League 2 clubs will play 22 or 18 games this season, we are not in a position to announce dates for Pyramid Play-Off ties this season. 

“Whilst we understand that this lack of certainty will be disappointing to supporters of Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts, it is important that we are entirely fair to all clubs, including the SPFL club that finishes bottom of League 2 this season. 

“Our approach has always been to apply the Rules that have been agreed by all member clubs, as well as the Pyramid Play-Off Rules agreed between the SPFL, the Scottish FA, the Lowland League and the Highland League, and we will do so again this season.”

The league statement also detailed the change at board level, with Brechin chairman Ferguson stepping down from his role as League One and Two representative. Brechin are currently the bottom side in the 42-team league structure and would be facing a play-off as things stand.

Ferguson said: “In view of the fact that Brechin City are currently 42nd in the League, it is appropriate for me to step aside at this time – and to devote all my time and energy into ensuring that Brechin City do not finish bottom of League 2 this season.”

SPFL Chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “On behalf of the entire SPFL Board, I would like to thank Ken for his huge contribution to the SPFL Board over the past two seasons. 

“I entirely understand and respect his reasons for wanting to step down at this time.  Ken’s hard work, commitment and wisdom have been of enormous benefit to the League and he will be missed.” 

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Gordon Thomson of Clyde FC, the SPFL’s alternate director, will represent League 1 and League 2 until the SPFL’s AGM in July.