FOrmartine United were given reason to celebrate this week, after the club was awarded associate membership of the Scottish FA.
Together with Turriff United, the Highland League club made a successful application through the SFA Licensing Committee and, after both submissions were ratified by the Scottish FA Board, they will now be eligible to participate in the William Hill Scottish Cup from next season.
Both clubs now fall under the club licensing system. As a result, they will be able to access the Scottish FA’s annual performance-related fee payments and be eligible to apply for Scottish Football Partnership funding for ground improvements.
Both Turriff United and Formartine United will remain as associate members for five years before becoming full members, which will enable the clubs to attend the Annual General Meeting.
Martin Johnston, the Formartine United Secretary, said: “We are proud and privileged to be formally recognised as an associate member of the Scottish FA. It is a testimony to the effort the club and the local community have put in. It has been a long process but a worthwhile one.
He continued: “Formartine has a rich Scottish Cup history, albeit in the junior and amateur ranks, and to be able to participate in the Scottish Cup next year is a reward to all involved in the club and in the local community for their continued support.”
Stewart Regan, Scottish Football Association Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to welcome Turriff United and Formartine United as associate members of the Scottish FA.
“Both clubs have been working hard over the last few years to achieve this status and it is pleasing to see two former junior clubs rise through the ranks.
“I am hopeful that this will encourage other clubs to develop in this way as there are some fantastic rewards there, with participation in the Scottish Cup being just one.”
However, the biggest gain for Formartine from their newly awarded status may not come from Scottish Cup entry and the prospect of a cup run and big payday against a Scottish Premier League club, but instead from being able to access funds for ground improvement, player and coach development through club licensing.
In a statement on the club website, a club spokesman said that while licensing did not come automatically from SFA acceptance, the conditions for SFA membership which the club had demonstrated were practically identical.
Although the decision on licensing has to be taken by another part of the Association, the club anticipates that this decision will be taken shortly.
The spokesman said that the club had done the work and spent the money to achieve this status, crediting Club Secretary Martin Johnston for driving things forward, as well as Ian Skeene and John Mutch for their efforts behind the scenes for not only organising the development of the physical facilities but the tedious task of getting the necessary certification. Above all, the spokesman thanked Atholl Cadger and sponsor Rollstud, whom he credited with allowing the club to get into the position where this recognition was possible.
The club expects to hear about its licensing application from the Scottish Football Association within the next few weeks.