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Scottish Football’s Future Hangs in the Balance

Mon 15th Apr 2013 | Football Governance

The future of Scottish football is hanging in the balance after St. Mirren and Ross County voted against proposed reforms.

A majority of 11-1 was needed to progress to a vote of Scottish Football League clubs scheduled for Friday.

The reforms, which former Scottish first minister, Henry Mcleish, said were essential to the future of the game and that failure to approve the plans would be “incomprehensible”, would have seen the current 12-10-10-10 structure changed to a new 12-12-18 model whereby the top two leagues would split into three leagues of eight after 22 matches then play a further seven home and seven away games. 

A statement released by the SPL read:

At this morning’s general meeting, all 12 Scottish Premier League clubs were present to consider proposals for restructuring of the Scottish professional game.  The proposals would have delivered:

- an expansion of play-offs, creating more opportunities for promotion and relegation between divisions
- a single merged league with meaningful games at every level
- a pyramid structure for the entire game
- opportunities for materially increased revenues coming into the game
- substantial redistribution of revenues to lower league clubs

The proposals required 11 votes in favour to be approved.  Ten votes in favour were received, with two against.  The proposals were not therefore approved.

During the meeting, and in an effort to break the deadlock, an amendment to the League’s rules on voting was proposed.  This major and progressive change would have allowed future league structure to be determined by a 9-3 vote, rather than the current 11-1 majority.  Prior to the meeting, a number of clubs had suggested that voting change would enable league structure change to be voted through.  Unfortunately, this amendment was also defeated in principle on a show of hands, with the same two clubs voting against.

The SPL Board wishes to express its sincere thanks to every member of the SPL’s Restructure Working Group and to Harper Macleod for their hard work over many months.  The Chief Executive and his team have worked tirelessly over the last three years to bring about positive change in the SPL.  The Board would like to place on record its deep disappointment that proposals to benefit the entire game in Scotland have been blocked.

SPL Chairman Ralph Topping said: “An overwhelming majority of SPL clubs voted for these proposals to go through.  The proposals foundered on the opposition of two clubs.  The package involved concessions from all clubs and was for the betterment of Scottish football as a whole.

“I would like to thank those who have supported these proposals, including those full-time professional clubs outside of the SPL who find themselves let down by today’s vote.  Scottish football needs to change. I had previously announced my intention to step down once a successor had been identified.  I have today advised the Board that I will not be seeking re-election at the SPL’s AGM this July.”


Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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