Reinstate Elgin City as Highland League champions 1992/93

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Twenty-five years ago, Scottish football club Elgin City were crowned Highland League champions - during the centenary season of the club and the league - before being stripped of the title for "bringing the game into disrepute". The charge brought by the Highland Football League, an affiliate organisation of the Scottish Football Association, was that Elgin's motive for seeking to bring forward a Saturday afternoon fixture to Friday night was that players suspended for the Saturday could play in the game. The accusation remains unproven and Elgin City Football Club and its fans have borne the shame of this excessive punishment for the past 25 years.

The practice of moving games to free suspended players was widespread among Highland League clubs in the early-1990s, prior to the introduction of a change in policy and protocol by Scottish football governing bodies protected against this. There exists evidence of clubs being allowed by the Highland League to move games to free suspended players, some clubs not declaring that the reason for moving a fixture was to free a suspended player and escaping without punishment, and other clubs receiving a discretionary fine (typically £100-300) after being found to have deceived the league by not declaring that their request to move a fixture was to free a suspended player.

Even assuming the worst case scenario that Elgin City requested that their final game of the 1992/93 season be brought forward a day with the motive to free suspended players, we argue that the penalty they faced seems excessive. While accounting for the embarrassment and anger felt at the time by the Highland Football League committee and the perception of member clubs that they had been deceived by Elgin City, we argue that, now, on reflection in the cold light of day, the severity of punishment appears to far outweigh the nature of the crime committed.

The case hasn’t been properly regarded dispassionately in at least 25 years. Now is the time to right a historical wrong and reinstate Elgin City as Highland League champions 1992/93, restoring credibility to the club and the league organisation on their 125th anniversaries.