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Two SPL clubs veto 12-12-18 league proposals

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The proposed plans for league reconstruction which would see our game revamped into three leagues of 12-12-18 have been blocked after St.Mirren and Ross County voted against it.

The SPL clubs had to achieve an 11-1 majority required to agree the new league format, but that was scuppered with the two votes against, which saw some of those clubs voting in favour, attacking St.Mirren and Ross County.

An SPL statement read: “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.”

Last week, St.Mirren announced that they would be voting against the league proposal. In a statement posted on their official website, it read: “After a very studied consideration of the Structure, Articles of Association, Rules and Shareholders Agreement, the Board of St Mirren Football Club have decided that they will be unable to support the motion at next Monday’s Meeting of SPL Clubs regarding this proposal for League Reconstruction.”

While Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor, told the assembled media outside Hampden, that he had gone with the desire of his shareholders and fans to vote against the league proposal.

There had also been a proposal to alter the voting majority in regards to league reconstruction from 11-1 to 9-3, but this was reportedly rejected by the two clubs also.

The SPL statement continued: “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.”

County and St.Mirren were accused of ‘putting Scottish football in jeopardy’ by Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne as passions ran high.

Milne was pretty scathing in his condemnation of the Paisley side, whose chairman Stewart Gilmour had left Hampden without comment.

Milne commented: “I’m not surprised he was angry. Everyone else was angry at the attitude he adopted. We’ve got the SPL as an organisation to have an interest in and we also have the wider Scottish football to have an interest in. None of that was displayed by Stewart Gilmour and St Mirren today.

“There was a major concession on the table today and if it didn’t deliver then the opportunity was there to look at it down the line within two to three years. This is going to have major implications for Scottish football in the short term and could potentially damage the game in the long term. I am very angry because today we have let down Scottish football and one person in particular.”

SPL Chairman Ralph Topping, who is stepping down from the role at the end of the season, added: “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.”

The league reconstruction proposals would have seen:

  • Three-league structure – 12-12-18
  • Leagues will be called Premier Division, Championship and National League
  • Top two leagues to split into three leagues of eight after 22 matches then play a further seven home and seven away games
  • Top eight teams to play for title and European places, middle eight to contest promotion and relegation in and out of Premier Division and bottom eight to decide who drops into National League
  • One league body to replace SPL and SFL
  • 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 Scottish Football League, who were set to vote on the proposal this Friday if the SPL clubs had voted it through, announced that the meeting would now not take place. The statement read: “Following the decision taken today by member clubs of The Scottish Premier League, The Scottish Football League Special General Meeting scheduled for Friday of this week will no longer be required.

“The Scottish Football League have supported the core principles of the proposed League reconstruction plan since the Henry McLeish report was published in December, 2010. Henry’s review of Scottish football was well received and reflected a broad view of input from the widest range of football stakeholders.

“We believe that positive change for the good of the game can still be achieved, but this will require compromise, and a more flexible approach to some key issues. If all parties agree to this approach and some realistic time frames can be agreed, then the current momentum for positive change need not be lost.

“The Board of The Scottish Football League will meet on Thursday to review where we are and a further statement may be appropriate at that time.”

Read further reactions from clubs across the country on the proposal being vetoed

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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