League Reforms Spells Danger

Last updated : 13 December 2010 By Queens MAD

Two-tier SPL could mean end of the road for Scottish Football League

THE Scottish Football League will be killed off if the SPL press ahead with changes to the game's structure REPORTS the Daily Record

The SPL are planning two divisions of 10 clubs each and Record Sport believes they also want to bring the other 22 clubs under their banner.

And it is understood the possibility of regionalised divisions for these clubs is also being considered.

Even though many believe the administration is top heavy with three governing bodies, the possible demise of the SFL will come as a shock.

However, after any initial surprise the SPL feel the moves will be welcomed.

But despite reports to the contrary there is no chance of any changes being brought into play for the start of next season with 2012-13 the earliest the SPL can introduce any alterations.

The changes would also allow clubs in the top flight to have colt sides - possibly Under-19s - in the lower divisions, although that proposal is at an early stage.

Representatives of six SPL clubs met at the Perthshire home of Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne yesterday and although agreement on changes remains a long way off they left convinced their plans will be endorsed.

This was the tenth time this strategic planning group of Peter Lawwell (Celtic,) Martin Bain (Rangers,) Rod Petrie (Hibs,) Stewart Gilmour (St Mirren,) Stewart Robertson (Motherwell,) and Milne, have come together since April and they are determined to push for change.

One club source said last night: "We do recognise that what we have at the moment is not good enough. We have to find a way of making the game more exciting, competitive and attractive to supporters, sponsors, and especially broadcasters."

The bottom club in SPL1 would be relegated with the ninth and eighth-placed clubs entering play-offs against the second and third-placed teams in SPL2.

By reducing the number of matches from the current 38 to 36 and getting rid of the controversial split the SPL believe they could incorporate a winter break and start the season earlier.

They are aiming for the second weekend in July each year and by starting then believe they could squeeze a better contract out of TV.

There is now a pressing need to have their changes endorsed by at least 11 of the current SPL clubs as well as enough of the SFL clubs to start the new set-up in 2012-13 which would coincide with negotiations for a new broadcast deal.

The six other SPL clubs have been kept up to speed and one source said: "We all accept we have to do something to protect as many clubs as possible.

"The way things are at the moment relegation could mean the end for one or two clubs."