OFFICIALS at Vale of Leithen hope they won't be left in the dark by the local authority as attempts are made to meet strict new SFA requirements.

From next season Hampden bosses want all clubs competing in the pyramid system to have floodlights.

And a failure to light up their grounds could results in teams being kicked out of the lucrative Scottish Cup and even their leagues.

Last week it was announced that East Lothian Council was providing financial assistance for three East of Scotland clubs, Musselburgh Athletic, Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors, to install floodlights at their grounds.

And Midlothian Council has previously provided backing to clubs in a similar position.

But Vale of Leithen's efforts to gather local authority support in the Borders so far have failed.

With time running out to install lighting at Victoria Park, the Lowland League club is arranging a public meeting for later this month.

Committee member John Anderson told us: "We made attempts previously to get help from the council but that led nowhere and we seem to keep ending back at the start.

"We are running out of time and we need all the help we can get to keep Vale as a licensed club.

"We have previously done a lot of work to meet the SFA licence requirements, but getting lights is the biggest hurdle yet.

"When you see neighbouring councils supporting their clubs we hope Scottish Borders Council will get on side with us as well."

The new pyramid system in Scottish football has been hailed a success with the standard of non-league football rising by the season.

Both the Lowland League and East of Scotland conferences have never been stronger.

But the SFA's continuous ground improvement requirements are taking their toll on small committees around the country.

It is estimated that Vale will need to raise around £50,000 for new floodlights as well as the added costs of electricity connections and planning permission on top.

Mr Anderson added: "The long-term vision is to create a community facility in Innerleithen that Vale, Leithen Rovers and the youth teams can all benefit from.

"More immediately, though, we need to make progress on getting floodlights."

A date has yet to be set for the public meeting at Innerleithen's Vale Club.

Council convenor David Parker, who has been heavily involved in identifying funding streams for Melrose Rugby Club's 3G and floodlight developments, is supportive of creating a community facility in Innerleithen.

He told us: "I would be supportive of trying to help clubs like Vale get new lighting and meeting league requirements, so long as other groups can also get access to the pitch and facilities."

Tweeddale councillor Stuart Bell is also supportive of the Victoria Park club's attempts to meet licensing requirements.

He said: "There are funds available that could support or contribute to an application for funding - indeed the council and our local Area Partnership has in the past supported this excellent club.

"If Vale were to get in touch with me or with other local councillors we would happily guide them through the process.”