East Region Junior football faces a root-and-branch revamp at the end of next season after the association’s clubs accepted a proposal to increase the top two tiers to 16-team divisions.
The plan was put forward by Dundee outfit Jeanfield Swifts and will mean no relegation from the Super League or Premier League for season 2012-2013. Instead, the top four clubs from the Premier League will be promoted to the Super League. The top four clubs from the South League and the top two from the Central and North divisions will be promoted to the Premier League.
This means that the remainder of the East Region clubs will be divided into two divisions, to be named the North and the South, also both of 16 teams.
One of the reasons behind the proposal was a dissatisfaction with the single promotion spot from the South, Central and North divisions and now there will be play-offs for both relegation and promotion in each tier.
Regional Secretary John Reilly agreed a change was needed. “We had a good winter this season and a lot of clubs were finished far too early and not in contention for silverware,” he said.
“This proposal may or may not be the ideal solution but we’ll never know until we try it out. The Super League has been a huge success and who knows this may just add to the interest. There will be more games being played and the season will settle down again.”
Bonnyrigg manager Max Christie gave the plan a cautious thumbs-up. “My main worry is that it will dilute the Super League,” he explained. “More teams will create a mid-table comfort zone for a lot of clubs. On the other hand with play-offs coming into effect the following season it will still be competitive. So I’m nervous, but excited. The extra teams take it from a 22-game League to a 30-game one and that will help make the Super League much more competitive.”
The East Region has also announced the date for the first competitive games as being Wednesday August 8.