Penicuik Athletic accepted by SFA but bad news for Bonnyrigg Rose

Penicuik Athletic have had their application to join the SFA accepted but Bonnyrigg Rose have not.
Penicuik Athletic have had their application to join the SFA accepted but Bonnyrigg Rose have not.

Penicuik Athletic's application to join the Scottish Football Association has been accepted, the club have confirmed.

A statement by the club, released as the news broke last night, read: "Penicuik Athletic Football Club are delighted to announce that the SFA have confirmed that following consideration by the Board, our application for membership of the Scottish Football Association has been approved.

"Our Membership will be effective from the commencement of the Scottish FA Annual General Meeting, which is being held on Wednesday 12th June 2019, at which the club will be represented.

"Everyone at the club is delighted at this news and having achieved SFA Quality Mark status during the season the full SFA membership is an achievement that was set out when we made our move to join the SFA pyramid last June as new members of the East of Scotland Football Association. The club now heads to the next chapter in its history with a place in next seasons Scottish Cup to look forward to and further ground improvements taking place at Penicuik Park over the close season.

"The club would like to thank everyone who has made this achievement possible."

While it was news to be celebrated for Penicuik and their supporters, their was disappointment for Bonnyrigg Rose.

Their application to join the SFA was rejected on the grounds that they are not compliant with current Entry Level criteria – specifically provision of floodlighting.

A statement from the club last night read: "I can confirm that earlier this afternoon I received an email from the Chief Executive of the SFA that following consideration by the Board, our application for membership of the Scottish Football Association has been rejected on the grounds that we are not compliant with current Entry Level criteria – specifically provision of floodlighting and therefore our application for derogation (which would allow us a period of twelve months to remedy this) has also been rejected.

"Everyone at the club is extremely disappointed with the outcome of this decision, as we believe we provided a compelling case for derogation which would allow us time to install floodlights at New Dundas Park as planned during the summer in time for the start of the new season.

"As a reminder, we applied for SFA membership on October 26th based on the criteria published in 2018 and the application fee was paid on the same date. November 22nd I received notice from SFA licensing that they would audit the club on December 12th at 10 a.m. At 6 p.m. on December 11th I received notification from SFA licensing of revisions to the SFA criteria for 2019 which now included a provision for the existence of floodlights.

"On the day of the audit it was confirmed by the licensing officers that despite applying for a license in 2018 (which would have been several months earlier has there not been an embargo in place allowing us to) we would be audited on the 2019 criteria. This gave us approximately 16 hours to ensure floodlights were in place which wasn’t achievable.

"Since the time of the audit we submitted a planning application for floodlights & pending a decision from the council we will have them in place for this summer.

"To go from the highs of the last seven days where we had close to 2,000 people watch us successfully navigate the Conference playoffs and win a place in the Lowland League based on sporting merit, to the news that reached us today which means at this moment in time we aren’t eligible for promotion is a massive low.

"To the players, management and supporters, the only solace I can give is that we are currently reviewing every option of recourse available. We have already been in conversation with our league who will back our case and we will write to the SFA asking for a further review.

"We are also exploring whether there is a benefit of bringing in outside assistance to review the whole process we have been through. There are no options at this stage which we have discounted.

"Finally, we would like to pass on our warm congratulations to the clubs that were successful in their license application today, which is a testament to their hard work over the course of several years."