|Founded||13 March 1873|
The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; Scottish Gaelic: Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Fitbaw Association), is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations. It was formed in 1873, making it the second oldest national football association in the world. It is not to be confused with the "Scottish Football Union", which is the name that the SRU was known by until the 1920s.
The Scottish Football Association sits on the International Football Association Board which is responsible for the laws of the game. The SFA is also a member of FIFA and founder member of UEFA. It is based at Hampden Park in Glasgow. In addition, the Scottish Football Museum is located there.
The Scottish Football Association is responsible for the operation of the Scotland national football team, the annual Scottish Cup and several other duties important to the functioning of the game in Scotland.
Following the formation of Scotland's earliest football clubs in the 1860s, football experienced a rapid growth but there was no formal structure, and matches were often arranged in a haphazard and irregular fashion.
Queen's Park, a Glasgow club founded in 1867, took the lead, and following an advertisement in a Glasgow newspaper in 1873, representatives from seven clubs – Queen's Park, Clydesdale, Vale of Leven, Dumbreck, Third Lanark, Eastern and Granville – attended a meeting on 13 March 1873. Furthermore, Kilmarnock sent a letter stating their willingness to join.
That day, these eight clubs formed the Scottish Football Association, and resolved that:
The clubs here represented form themselves into an association for the promotion of football according to the rules of The Football Association and that the clubs connected with this association subscribe for a challenge cup to be played for annually, the committee to propose the laws of the competition.
The chief executive of the Scottish Football Association oversees the development of football in Scotland and the administration of disciplinary matters, and is also responsible for the general organisation of the national side. One of the most prominent roles of the chief executive is to hire and dismiss Scotland national football team managers.
There have been nine chief executives since 1882:
- John McDowall (1882–1928)
- Sir George Graham (1928–1957)
- Willie Allan (1957–1977)
- Ernie Walker CBE (1977–1990)
- Jim Farry (1990–1999)
- David Taylor (1999–2007)
- Gordon Smith (2007–2010)
- Stewart Regan (2010–2018)
- Ian Maxwell (2018–present)
As well as the Scotland national football team, the Scottish Football Association is also currently responsible for organising the Scotland B national football team, as well as men's national teams at under-21, under-19, under-18 and under-17 levels. There was also a semi-professional team, but this was disbanded in 2008. In women's football, there is the full Scotland women's national football team, under-19 and under-17 teams.
The Scottish Football Association organises the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Youth Cup. Although the SFA are not involved in the day-to-day operation of the Scottish Professional Football League or other league competitions, they do appoint referees to officiate the games in these leagues.
The Scottish Football Association encourages quality of governance in football clubs through a system of club licence awards. All SFA member clubs are assessed annually in four areas (grounds, first team support, youth team support, and governance) and, if appropriate, awarded a licence at gold, silver, bronze or entry level. As of January 2015, gold-level licences have been awarded to only two clubs, Celtic and Hibernian. All clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League are required to be licensed at entry level or above, this has been extended to the Highland Football League and Lowland Football League.
As of February 2018, 89 clubs are full members of the Scottish Football Association, comprising:
- All 42 clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League
- All 18 clubs in the Highland Football League
- All 16 clubs in the Lowland Football League
- 4 clubs in the East of Scotland Football League: Burntisland Shipyard, Coldstream, Kelty Hearts, Preston Athletic
- 4 clubs in the South of Scotland Football League: Newton Stewart, St Cuthbert Wanderers, Wigtown & Bladnoch and Threave Rovers
- 3 junior clubs: Banks O' Dee, Girvan and Linlithgow Rose
- 2 amateur clubs: Glasgow University and Golspie Sutherland
The Scottish Football Association has affiliated to it the following six national associations:
- Scottish Amateur Football Association
- Scottish Junior Football Association
- Scottish Schools Football Association
- Scottish Youth Football Association
- Scottish Welfare Football Association
- Scottish Women's Football
The following nine local associations are affiliated:
- Aberdeenshire and District Football Association
- East of Scotland Football Association
- Fife Football Association
- Forfarshire Football Association
- Glasgow Football Association
- North of Scotland Football Association
- Southern Counties Football Association
- Stirlingshire Football Association
- West of Scotland Football Association
- "Record Turnover announced at Scottish FA AGM". www.scottishfa.co.uk. Scottish Football Association. 9 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- James Shaw [@JGBS] (30 November 2012). "James Shaw" (Tweet). Retrieved 19 May 2017 – via Twitter.
- "Brief History of the Scottish Football Association". Scottish Football Association. Archived from the original on 1 July 2008. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- "New SFA chief ready to take flak". BBC Sport. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- "Gordon Smith appointed chief executive". Scottish Football Association. Archived from the original on 19 July 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
- "SFA chief executive Gordon Smith steps down from role". BBC Sport. 19 April 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2010.
- "Regan named new Scottish FA chief executive". BBC Sport. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2010.
- "Scotland: Stewart Regan steps down as SFA chief executive". BBC Sport. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
- "Ian Maxwell appointed as Chief Executive". Scottish Football Association. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- McLauchlin, Brian (8 May 2018). "Scottish FA & SPFL merger not likely, says Andrew McKinlay". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
- "SFA pulls the plug on Scots semi-pro team". The Scotsman. Johnston Publishing. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 18 November 2013.