Buckie Thistle 'stunned and devastated' as they hit back at SFA and SPFL over playoff ban

Buckie Thistle -Credit:SNS Group
Buckie Thistle -Credit:SNS Group

Buckie Thistle say they are 'stunned and devastated' after being told by the SPFL they are not eligible for the playoffs.

Highland League champions Buckie have fallen short of the league's criteria after failing to attain a Bronze License which is required for league clubs next season. Highland League clubs expressed concern over that new rule in February after it was voted through last summer and the SPFL and SFA issued a joint statement on Thursday announcing that Buckie had failed to attain the grade.

Lowland League winners East Kilbride now go straight into a playoff with Club 42 and a gutted Buckie statement reads:: "At 5pm today, Buckie Thistle FC received an email from the SPFL, stating that because the club do not comply with the SFA Bronze Licence criteria, and did not apply for a waiver or period of grace in respect of this non-compliance by the deadline of 31st March 2024, there will be no Play-Off Tie between Buckie Thistle FC and East Kilbride FC, and East Kilbride will automatically go forward to the Pyramid Play-Off Tie with Club 42.

"However, we can confirm that the club has been in regular contact with the SFA in regard to the Bronze Licence criteria items, and we were in fact asked by the SPFL to ask for a period of grace for four of these items on Tuesday 23rd April, which we duly did.

"Our club president Garry Farquhar attended a meeting with the SFA on Wednesday 24th April, and we were granted derogations for 3 items - floodlights, safety officer and diversity and inclusion. One item - Medical – has been deferred until the 15th of May, but the club has committed to resolving the matter by May 10th.

"It goes without saying that everyone at the club is stunned and devastated by the timing of this decision. It’s particularly harsh on the players and management, who put so much hard work into winning the Highland League title, that they don’t get the opportunity to go for promotion."