NEIL DONCASTER has warned clubs will suffer if legal action is taken against the SPFL in the wake of last month’s vote to bring a premature halt to the lower leagues.

The Hampden chief executive is awaiting a ballot on the crucial proposal tomorrow.

Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park insisted his side would not rule out further action if their resolution for an independent investigation is rejected by clubs.

Hearts will also consider a “formal challenge” if they are relegated should the Premiership campaign be concluded early.

The Tynecastle club face demotion when they were bottom of the top flight, four points adrift of Hamilton Accies, when the game went into cold storage in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At the other end of the table, Celtic are standing by the be awarded their ninth successive title as they sat in pole position with a 13-point advantage over Rangers with just eight games to play.

Doncaster, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound programme, said: “Legal action against the league is ultimately legal action against the clubs.

“The league itself is purely a competition the clubs play in and the money that is distributed to clubs belongs to all the clubs.

“If any clubs wishes to take action against the league they can do so, but, ultimately, it’s all clubs who suffer because of it.”

The Ibrox club’s requisition for an inquiry needs the support of 32 of the other 41 members of the SPFL.

After Gers side sent a dossier of evidence against the SPFL to clubs on Thursday, Doncaster said the league and its staff had “absolutely” followed due process, but acknowledged “mistakes were made” in the time given to clubs to consider the proposals.

In response to the release of the documents, the league said on Friday there was not “a single shred of evidence” to support claims of bullying or coercion.

Doncaster repeated that no formal complaint was made to him about bullying, but did say he was made aware of “robust exchanges” between clubs.

He commented: “A number of people expressed concerns about the language that was used.

“There was a suggestion that if the resolution didn’t go through then there might be an attempt to change the [payment]distribution mechanism in the Championship and perhaps make it an equal share.

“That is the sort of discussion you expect to go on. That’s what happens when you’ve got these rough, tough business people involved in the game. That’s wholly different from someone making a formal complaint or allegation of bullying, and that hasn’t happened.

“I would encouraged anyone who feels they’ve been bullied by anyone to come forward and report it. It’ll be investigated and dealt with in the proper way.”

Rangers claimed the league failed to make clubs aware of a potential £10million liability to sponsors and broadcasters before the vote to end the season and give the SPFL board the power to curtail the Premiership.

Doncaster rebutted that claim and added: “Any liability that any league around Europe may face is down to any inability it may have to play games.

“That’s caused entirely by the Covid-19 crisis and in our case by the government regulation that makes clear there can’t be football until after 10 June at the earliest.

“The resolution didn’t trigger any liability, £10million or otherwise. It’s not linked to the vote.”


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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