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10:05:51 PM
SFL ready to choose

SFL happy with quality applicants

Annan Athletic are among the clubs hoping to join the SFL
Annan Athletic are among the clubs hoping to join the SFL

SFL chief executive David Longmuir is confident the search for a new recruit will yield a positive outcome.

Annan Athletic, Edinburgh City, Preston Athletic, Spartans and Cove Rangers are bidding to replace Gretna and step up to the Scottish Third Division.

"All five applicants have made a great effort," Longmuir told BBC Sport.

"If I could bring all five in I would but it's a democratic process. All 29 member clubs will vote on 3 July, they will assess the criteria."

Cove Rangers are the current Highland League champions, while all the other clubs play in the East of Scotland League.

"I must say I'm very pleased with the quality of the applications," added Longmuir.

"You can tell just by the way the guys have gone about applying their enthusiasm and commitment to join us, which is excellent to see.

"There was a wide ranging series of questions asked such as infrastructure, the history of the club, the playing structure, the financial structure, the facilities around the stadium, what plans they have for the future, what the catchment area is, the local geography and current attendances.

"Everyone has given us more than we need in terms of information about the club and it's really all about us now as a management committee going to visit these clubs over the next 10-12 days.

We will meet with the people who run the clubs and then our member clubs will have the chance to hear pitches from these five applicant clubs.


"The vote will consider a range of things including proper seated facilities up to a certain level.

"We need to look access, we need to look at things such as disabled facilities.

"Certainly we'll be looking at the business plan not just for the current year but for future years, the commitment to develop young footballers and to develop football in their areas, their commitment to engage with the local community."

Spartans chairman Craig Graham has been busy courting support from SFL clubs and believes he will have strong backing.

"We're very much prepared," said Graham.

"They'll see our new ground, which is making very good progress and will be finished in early September.

"What we've got is the license criteria and a checklist that shows the new ground we're building meets every aspect required for SFL3.

"It has a 2,600 capacity and has a 500-seat stand, and that's in line with SFL requirements."

The successful side will not have much time to prepare and Graham admitted it would be a difficult transition.

"At the moment we've got a team ready to play in the East of Scotland League, and it'll be that team that have to go up and play in the SFL.

"There are players who have been with us for several seasons who have shown fantastic loyalty to us because many of them could have gone into the league by now.

"We need to be loyal to them and give them an opportunity to play at the higher level."

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