Biddeford High’s request to have its football team compete in Class B next season was rejected Wednesday by the Maine Principals’ Association.

Instead, Biddeford, which has faced declining enrollment for years, will remain in Class A for the next two years.

“This is very disappointing,” said Athletic Director Dennis Walton after the decision was made in an executive session of the MPA’s Interscholastic Management Committee.

Walton said Biddeford falls into the enrollment range for Class B football teams – approximately 600 to 850 students.

“Right now we’re 100 students below the Class B cutoff number and next year we’re going to be down even lower,” he said.

“From day one we made a very compelling argument that this was about the kids and evening the playing field. This was an injury concern. We don’t have the depth (on the football team) because of our numbers.”

Every two years the MPA’s Classification Committee sets enrollment numbers for classes in each sport. When football was realigned into four classes after the 2012 season, Biddeford would have been put in Class B.

But the Tigers, a power from the 1970s through the early ’90s, wanted to continue playing in Class A. When schools apply to play in a higher classification, they have to stay in that class for four years, according to an MPA rule in effect since 1984. It’s to stop schools from jumping to different classes every two years.

“The Management Committee felt the policy should be upheld,” said Mike Burnham, an MPA associate executive director. “It’s more about the policy in place than Biddeford football. The committee has the final say.”

There are eight schools in Western Class A football. Biddeford gained the sixth and final seed in the regional playoffs this season. The Tigers beat third-ranked South Portland in the quarterfinals before losing to No. 2 Bonny Eagle in the semifinals. Biddeford finished with a 4-6 record.

“We’re on hold for two years,” Walton said. “We will honor that. I don’t even know if there’s an appeal process.”