ABERDEEN and Hearts are backing to Rangers’ calls for an independent inquiry into the handling of last week’s SPFL vote.

However, neither club support the Ibrox side’s call for the suspension of chief executive Neil Doncaster and the league’s legal adviser Rod McKenzie.

The Dons’ managing director Dave Cormack and the Tynecastle club’s owner Ann Budge confirmed their positions during an interview on BBC Sportsound.

The Pittodrie supremo also added he has a verbal guarantee from the SPFL board that the Premiership season will NOT be cancelled without go-ahead from the top-flight members.

Last week, following Dundee’s protracted decision in the ballot, it was decided to immediately close down the three leagues outwith the Premiership.

That agreement saw Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers crowned champions of their respective divisions.

It also relegated Partick Thistle from the Championship into League One with Stranraer toppling into the third tier.

Celtic, 13 points clear at the top of the Premiership with only eight games to go, are poised to be awarded their ninth successive crown when the SPFL accept the top flight will also be cancelled due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Scotland’s football rulers requited 75 per cent of the vote to make the decisions during unprecedented times and Dons chief Cormack revealed that his club were undecided at 4.40pm on Friday when he had a telephone conversation with Doncaster ahead of the 5pm deadline.

With the requisite nine votes from Premier clubs already received, rendering his club’s vote irrelevant, Cormack said that his concerns would be taken to the board.

The Aberdeen boss admitted: “I could almost repeat what Ann (Budge) has said. We owe it to ourselves and the fans to right this situation and bring back credibility.

“We would like to see an independent investigation.

“Someone independent has to chair it because if we don’t, I’m not sure anyone will believe it.

“What we were trying to do was negotiate a position in writing that the 12 clubs would make that decision.

“At 4.40pm, we were effectively told we had got their nine votes and they didn’t need ours.

“I didn’t have a problem with Neil getting involved, he didn’t push us either way on the conversations we had.

“We were negotiating for the board of the SPFL to agree that any decision on ending the Premiership would be taken by 75 per cent of the clubs.

“To Neil’s credit, he said he would take that to the board and that was going to be whenever they were going to meet, maybe an hour or so later.

“And so at that point in time we made a decision to go with the lower league teams plus an assurance verbally that no decision would be made or will be made until the majority of the SPFL clubs are on board.

“We need to sit down as 12 Premiership clubs and have that discussion. How can you make a decision when you don’t know what UEFA’s position is?”

Cormack feels more debate is required, not to mention feasibility studies about completing the campaign, perhaps behind closed doors, as English clubs are currently considering.

On league reconstruction, the Dons are in favour of expanding the league to 14 teams for one season, or possibly two, but not engaging in permanent reconstruction talks.

He added: “I learned a long time ago in business that the worst time to make any decisions in business is during a crisis.

“We have always been supportive of looking at the Partick Thistle scenario, we are for looking at a 14-team Premiership for one season if it takes one or two seasons, we think that is the right thing to do. Vote for a temporary suspension, but not a permanent one.”

Hearts chief Budge admitted that she backed Rangers in their calls for an independent probe into the voting, but said she had no clues about any evidence the Ibrox side may claim to have against the likes of Doncaster and McKenzie.

She said: “I do support them on that. There has been so much negativity, this has reached such heights that I think without an independent review it isn’t going to go away.

“I think it would be the right thing to do. I think it would identify that mistakes were made, and things weren’t handled in the right manner. ”

Without league reconstruction, the Edinburgh side face being relegated after trailing Hamilton Accies by four points when the campaign came to an emergency halt in the middle of last month.


About Author


Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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