League ends; relegation uncertain; Vale left in limbo

At the beginning of the season, the clubs and league agreed a process for ending the season if it could not be completed. If 50% of games were completed, it would end on a Points Per Game basis. If less than 50% of games were completed, it would be null and void. This policy was reaffirmed in January 2021.

Having been told by the Scottish Government that completing the season without weekly PCR testing would not be permitted, the season is over. No team in the league has completed 50% of games, and in the Vale’s case, we are 4 games short of the 50% mark. A policy for this situation was agreed at the start of the season, and reaffirmed in January 2021. Under the agreed rules, the season should have been null and void.

The league Board have now decided, after seeking non binding comments from clubs, to abandon the agreed rules and declare the season on a Points Per Game basis.

The position on relegation is now unclear and based on a number of factors with unknown outcomes: how many teams will be in the league next season? Will it go back to 16, stay at 17, or another number? Will other pyramid clubs declare a champion? Will a club be promoted from the Lowland League? If a club is relegated from SPFL league 2, which league will they go into? All these questions remain unanswered, and the club is now left in no limbo.

Having spent the last year promoting sporting integrity and playing by the rules, it is disappointing to see the Lowland League breaking their agreed process.

Manager Chris Anderson said: “The past year has been a stressful one for everyone with normality coming to a halt in all our lives. The one constant has been the Scottish football infighting and baffling decisions. One minute we were allowed to play, the next we weren’t.

Let’s be clear. I want to stress that we have not preformed as well as we would have liked this year. No excuses. We have been far from the level required after 12 games but with 20 games remaining and still not played everyone around us who knows what would have happened.

That aside – all we’ve listened to over the past year was the SPFL closing the door to pyramids and sporting integrity going down the pan. Well it’s well and truly flushed now.

For this exact scenario we implemented a rule of reaching 50% games for the season to be called. Rules are there to safeguard competition. That trust is now broken.

In a day or two people will forget and move on. Whatever our fate, we will regroup and look forward to rebuilding for next season, whatever league we are in.”