AN AGREEMENT has been reached which could see Ayrshire amateur football clubs enter the Scottish football pyramid.

The deal was struck between the Scottish Amateur Football Association (SAFA) and West of Scotland Football League (WoSFL) and announced earlier this week.

The agreement means that when a vacancy arises for a club to join the WoSFL set up (tiers 6-10 of Scottish football), in instances such as the Premier Division champions earning promotion to the Lowland League, the vacancy could be filled by an amateur club.

There are currently no vacancies in the WoSFL, with all five leagues at their capacity of 16 teams.

In order for a SAFA club to enter the set up they must satisfy all the necessary stadium and other criteria required to join the WoSFL, as well as being based within the defined boundaries of the league - with Ayrshire well within this location.

Amateur clubs interested in applying for consideration to fill such a vacancy are now able to apply to do so on the WoSFL website at any time - as long as they have been a SAFA member for at least one season.

Once applying for consideration to fill a vacancy, WoSFL delegates will visit clubs to advise on how they meet requirements before they are placed on the list of approved clubs that can fill spaces in the set up.

When a vacancy arises, those clubs on the approved list will be invited to make a presentation to a panel made up of both the WoSFL and the SAFA to determine which club will fill the vacancy.

SAFA president Iain Cowden said that this agreement was a positive step that allowed those progressive amateur clubs an opportunity to make the step into senior football.

He said: “This agreement is great news for all amateur clubs in the west of Scotland who may have ambitions of progressing into the pyramid system of Scottish football.

"At the same time it protects the status of the Scottish Amateur FA in the west of Scotland in that clubs outwith our organisation who wish to join the pyramid system must become a member of the Scottish Amateur FA before they can become eligible to apply to the West of Scotland League. 

"This is an excellent opportunity for our clubs, and I believe that this is a blueprint that could be replicated elsewhere in Scotland for the benefit of our national game.”

Matt Bamford, chairman of the West of Scotland Football League, said: “This agreement is a win/win for both the league and for amateur football.

"It allows clubs to achieve the minimum criteria for membership of the WoSFL so that they have everything in place when a vacancy arises. 

"It also protects the amateur game and benefits not only progressive amateur clubs but also youth clubs with a defined pathway into senior football should they so desire.”