The following is an email sent to all WoSFL member clubs at 10.50am on the morning of 13th October 2020 by Kennie Young, Secretary of the Interim Management Group.
To All Clubs,
As Secretary of the Interim Management Group of the West of Scotland Football League it is my duty to update you on the plans for starting the Leagues.
We have had intense discussions, throughout the weekend, including talks with the Scottish Football Association on possible scenarios surrounding the results of our recent ballot.
These meetings and discussions culminated in a Zoom Meeting last night lasting almost three hours.
Our over-riding principle in all this is protection of each and every one of our 67 clubs.
In line with the decision taken by the Lowland League, we also decided that we would not force any team to take part in a competition that had the potential to bankrupt them due to no income from fans, or that forced them to ignore their duty of care to their players and staff.
Therefore we offered the teams the option to withdraw from the league without penalty.
Relegation is a form of penalty.
So we cannot relegate a team for not playing and also we could not relegate a team for playing whilst allowing non-playing teams to retain a spot for next season.
The Scottish Football Association have accepted that due to the current circumstances we are quite correct to consider the welfare and survival of all of our clubs and that we have to consider all aspects and implications of any decision we come to.
They completely agreed that it would be unfair to punish any team wishing to withdraw from playing if they were concerned for their players, staff, committee and their fans. Also, that the clubs had to consider the financial implications of closed door matches.
They also informed us that due to a number of clubs withdrawing from playing and without penalty, that it was right and proper that the full 4 league structure from this season should rollover to the next season.
However, it was also stated, that we must retain the format that was negotiated at the very beginning of the season, which is:
Premier Division of 20 clubs reducing to 16 by 2022/23 at tier 6. Tier 7 was to consist of 3 Conferences playing to become 3 Linear Leagues by 2022/23.
All teams must start Season 2021/22 in the League they are in at present.
For clarification, this means that there will be no promotion and/or relegation between tiers 6 and 7 in accordance with the Q&A document emailed to every member club on Monday 5th October. This was subsequently fully discussed at the online meeting held on the evening of Tuesday 6th October, three days before the closing time of the vote.
We considered every option and outcome, we also considered the emails, messages and phone calls from a small number of clubs that contacted us with various suggestions.
Since the result of the Ballot being published we have received emails from 9 clubs informing and confirming that they wish to withdraw from competing in this season’s League Competition. This has been implemented and the Premier League will commence on Saturday 24th October with 15 Clubs.
It has been decided that we will run with a fixture list of 28 Games where each team will play the other 14 teams on a home and away basis.
The 3 Conferences will run with the remaining teams and will also be played on a home and away basis, we may if required adjust these Conferences to try to achieve a balance across the leagues.
Titles, Trophies and Medals will be assigned to all competitions.
I now have to inform you, that, should your club wish to take up the option of withdrawing from playing in any of the Leagues and be able to do so without penalty, you will have until 8PM on Friday 16th October 2020, to confirm via an email to myself, of that decision. After that deadline passes all clubs that have not informed me of their withdrawal will be considered as playing.
A fixture list will be produced as soon as possible thereafter and the clubs will be expected to complete those fixtures. However, we have also decided that due to some of the results from the earlier club survey, we have also added a period of grace to still withdraw without penalty.
If you feel your club cannot continue due to the restrictions that are in place at that time, we will allow clubs to inform me via an email of their desire to withdraw from playing.
The deadline for that stage will be 8PM on Saturday 14thNovember 2020.
Please note, that any club that has not withdrawn from playing by that deadline will be considered as playing and will be expected to complete their commitment to the League by playing all fixtures as set out. Any club withdrawing after that deadline will be considered as having withdrawn from the WoSFL and may be sanctioned for that withdrawal.
Finally, a reminder once again that the closing deadline for any club to withdraw without penalty from the Soccer Shop Challenge Cup is Saturday 17th October.
Interim Management Group of the West of Scotland Football League