Berwick Rangers to reject B team proposal

Berwick Rangers FC will be voting against a proposal to extend the participation of guest clubs in the Park’s Motor Group Lowland League. This comes ahead of a vote of Lowland League member clubs tonight, and following the dissemination of the aforementioned B team proposal last week.

This proposal seeks to extend the participation of guest clubs for two more seasons, with the option to extend into a third season. Changes have also been put forward with regard to the eligibility criteria for B team players to appear in league matches. A proposed entrance fee per guest club has also been suggested in the proposal.

Regrettably, the short time frame between the proposal reaching us and tonight’s vote has precluded us from undertaking any extended consultation with our fans. However, we have listened to your views on the participation of guest clubs – both in previous meetings and in the stands this season – and feel that voting against this proposal is the right thing to do, just as it was over the proposed Conference League in the summer.

Fundamentally, we want to participate in a league made up of clubs who have earned their places on merit, and are all competing on a similar field and for the same purpose. In the vote tonight, we have the opportunity to help to shape the Lowland League in that direction, and that is how we will use our vote.

As many of our supporters will be aware, the current financial environment for part-time football clubs is very difficult, and Berwick Rangers are not an exception in finding ourselves facing budgetary pressures. However, the long-term financial sustainability of the club, and of this level of football in general, cannot be based on relying on payments for the participation of B teams in the Lowland League. We are committed to being here for the long term through a community-focused approach to our operations and being a great day out for our supporters, while supporting a push for greater financial fair play regulation of the Lowland League.

Our position on tonight’s vote is not a reflection in any way on our relations with Heart of Midlothian B and Celtic B, both of whom have treated us with friendliness and hospitality when they have hosted us in previous fixtures. Furthermore, although we will be voting against the proposal, we will respect the outcome as decided by all sixteen member clubs, and will continue to work alongside our peers in the Lowland League to create the best possible competition for clubs and supporters.