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Scottish League One:
The Scottish Football League (SFL) was a football league mostly comprised of professional and semi-professional teams from Scotland. The Scottish Football League (SFL) was Scotland's highest level of football from its establishment in 1890 until the creation of the breakaway Scottish Premier League (SPL) in 1998.
Since 1998, the SFL represented tiers 2–4 of the Scottish football league system. The Scottish Professional Football League was formed in June 2013 when the SFL and SPL combined to create the Scottish Professional Football League.
From the 1985–86 season, the SFL was partnered with a title sponsor. As the league's sponsor varied over the years, it was known as the Fine Fare League, the B&Q League, the Bell's Scottish Football League, and eventually the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League. The Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Challenge Cup were both knockout cup competitions run by the SFL.
The Scottish Football Association was founded in 1873, which marked the beginning of organized football in Scotland (SFA). Clubs will play friendly tournaments, Scottish Cup ties, and local cup (e.g., Glasgow Cup or East of Scotland Shield) ties for the next 15 years or so.
The Football League was established in 1888 with clubs from the North West and Midlands of England. This was achieved in reaction to the professionalization of football in England in 1885 when a steady diet of league fixtures replaced the haphazard arrangement of friendlies.
Many Scottish stars, dubbed "Scotch Professors," transferred to English league clubs to take advantage of the comparatively high wages on offer. This inspired Scottish clubs to consider establishing their own competition. Renton's secretary wrote to thirteen other clubs in March 1890, asking them to meet to discuss the formation of a league. Except for Queen's Park and Clyde, both of the clubs declined the invitation.
Queen's Park, Scotland's oldest organized club and a major player in the history of football, is opposed to the league because it would lead to professionalism and the abolition of several smaller clubs. Six of the league's founding members would quit the league before 1900, confirming these fears.
The league was so successful that a second division was created in 1893 with the addition of a number of clubs formerly in the Scottish Football Alliance. The promotion was originally determined by a vote of clubs; automatic promotion did not occur until 1922.
Division Two, but not Division One, was discontinued at the outbreak of World War I, and did not resume until 1921 when the Central Football League was absorbed as a single division with automatic promotion.
The League voted to add a third tier in 1923. The Western League served as its backbone but the current structure survived just three years before collapsing due to financial losses. The League reverted to two tiers from 1926 to 1946, with several third-tier teams entering the Scottish Football Alliance.
After several decades, the league was reorganized, into four divisions of ten teams, with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County chosen to round out the league. Simultaneously, the SFL implemented a three-point scheme for victory. The Premier Division teams separated from the league in 1998 to create the Scottish Premier League (SPL). The remaining ten-club leagues maintained their titles, and the Premier Division was not reconstituted, retaining the First, Second, and Third Divisions. The SPL was to be expanded to 12 clubs in 2000 as part of the deal.
Since 2005, the SFL has decided a promotion and relegation spot in each division based on playoffs between four clubs. The playoffs were held between the ninth (second lowest) club in the higher division and the second, third, and fourth clubs in the lower division. As a result, rather than the teams directly above them in the table, it was necessary for a team finishing fourth in the Second Division or Third Division to be promoted. It was also possible for the ninth-placed club to stay in the higher tier.
A self-conducted analysis in March 2007 discovered that the league was three times more costly to run than comparable leagues in England, with a study claiming that the league system was "outdated." According to the survey, the Football Conference has four staff who oversee 68 clubs, while the SFL has 14 workers who oversee leagues with just 30 clubs.
The Scottish Football League held two knockout cup competitions: the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Challenge Cup. The League Cup was created in 1946 to replace the wartime Southern League Cup. The League Cup was only applicable to Scottish Football League teams, as opposed to the Scottish Cup, which was organized by the Scottish Football Association. Since the top-flight teams break up in 1998, Scottish Premier League clubs continued to play in the League Cup. The competition winner was qualified to play in the UEFA Cup until the mid-1990s when it was withdrawn due to a lack of European places.
To commemorate the League's centennial, the Scottish Challenge Cup was founded in 1990. The Challenge Cup was only available to Scottish Football League teams that did not play in the top tier of the Scottish football league system. Since 2011, two Highland Football League clubs have been eligible to compete in the Challenge Cup each year, with a total of 32 clubs. The Scottish Professional Football League continued to run the League Cup and the Challenge Cup.
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