Camelon SFA membership bid rejected but club vow to find floodlights solution
Camelon Juniors have pledged to put the decision to deny the East of Scotland League club a Scottish Football ?Association license behind them and achieve the status in future.
The Mariners were one of several clubs, mostly from the East of Scotland League, to apply for the certification which allows progression through the Scottish Football league pyramid into the upper echelons of senior football.
It also includes Scottish Cup entry, and Camelon WILL be permitted to contest next season’s competition as they qualified through football means by lifting the South of Scotland Shield.
But the Mariners want to contest the Cup every year and to do that must be a member of the SFA.
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However, the application at Hampden was rejected as Carmuirs Park does not have floodlights installed – a criteria set AFTER Camelon’s committee submitted their application for membership based on the 2018 requirements.
Bonnyrigg Rose also fell foul of the floodlight rule and while Camelon are disappointed by the decision officials are determined not to let the setback affect them going forward.
Camelon football secretary, Tony Smith told the Falkirk Herald: “It’s not so much about changing the criteria – they are entitled to do so, – but it is the way they have done it.
“It’s not the end of the world for Camelon, we are still in the Scottish Cup next year on footballing merit.
“It’s just another hoop we’ve got to jump through and another challenge we will rise to. We have worked hard to be where we are now, there’s no point crying about it. We are well ahead of where we want to be.
“Moving to the East of Scotland League was like someone taking a defibrillator to the club. When I became involved I wasn’t sure we would be able to keep the gates open, we had £4 in the bank.
“Now our community programme is thriving with over 140 children involved and we’re making great strides on and off the park, so this is just another hurdle we have to overcome.”
It’s a blow to the ambitions of Camelon manager Gordon Herd, who said: “We got rejected on the basis that we didn’t have floodlights, which is disappointing. When we applied for the licence originally, there was no floodlights in the licence.
“The SFA have moved the goal posts and there isn’t any coming and going with them – they’re not going to give us the time to get them and grant us a club licence. It’s disappointing, but I know the committee is working towards getting the floodlights so we can get something done about it.
“They told us what we needed and we adjusted the club to suit. The floodlights are the stumbling block now and they aren’t cheap. It’s really disappointing from the SFA .
Bonnyrigg Rose were also denied membership over a lack of floodlights – and applied even earlier than Camelon.
The Conference champions released a scathing statement on social media hours after the decision, where they criticised the Scottish Football Association for failing to allow them more time to source lighting and to – potentially– be promoted to the Lowland League next season.
It said changes in criteria left them 16 hours to ensure floodlights were in place “which wasn’t achievable.”
They were backed by Mariners boss Herd who added: “Bonnyrigg have just gone through a gruelling season to win promotion fairly and it’s going be taken away from them on a technicality and it seems very, very unfair.”
A Scottish FA spokesperson said: “Applications from clubs for Scottish FA membership are assessed against the club licensing criteria which is approved by the Board of the Scottish FA.”