Spl Chief Dismisses Butcher's Claims Of Bullying

Last updated : 24 January 2011 By Queens MAD
SCOTTISH Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster has dismissed Terry Butcher's claims that Inverness Caledonian Thistle are being "bullied" into accepting the proposed change to a 10-team top flight REPORTS the Scotsman.

Butcher launched a stinging attack on the SPL reconstruction plans following his team's 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox on Tuesday night and went on to suggest the organisation did not want his club to be members because of their geographical location. Doncaster has responded by insisting the proposed new set-up will in fact address the concerns raised by Butcher.

"I don't think anyone has ever bullied Terry Butcher," said Doncaster. "I think you have to put his comments in the context of coming in the heat of the moment following a disappointing result. Like every other club in the SPL, Inverness have a vote. The people in administration of the SPL do not. Nothing happens without the clubs voting for it to happen.

"I know the financial pain Inverness felt when they were relegated from the SPL in 2009 and that is precisely what the current plan is about, seeking to make the drop from the top tier less damaging.

Inverness have been consulted, along with every other club, during the current process. They are most certainly valued members of the SPL and I
went on record last year to say how pleased I was to have a team from the Highlands in the SPL."

Donacaster, meanwhile, will today attempt to persuade the Scottish Football League to back the proposals for a 10-team top flight and 12-team second tier.

Along with other members of the SPL board, he will meet their SFL counterparts at Hampden to try to garner support for the controversial reconstruction plan they unveiled earlier this week. The SFL board are holding a scheduled monthly board meeting today and chief executive David Longmuir confirmed they will also hold formal talks with the SPL hierarchy on the proposed changes for the first time.

"Representatives of the SPL board will meet with our board and it gives us our first opportunity to hear face to face what they have been deliberating upon," said Longmuir. "While I have been kept up to speed with developments on a personal level, it is the first chance for our clubs to become engaged in the process. We will listen to what the SPL have to say, ask questions and hopefully get some clarity on what they are proposing."

Terry Butcher fury might make SPL chairmen think twice

Butcher's criticism of the reconstruction plans brought into sharp focus the fact that widespread opposition remains. Longmuir believes the SPL cannot advance any plans until they have achieved harmony among their own members.

"As it stands, no formal proposal has been put to us," added Longmuir. "They have not yet bottomed out what their own organisation feels is the right way forward for the game. The comments Terry Butcher made on Wednesday night underlined that the SPL still have to address uncertainty among their own clubs about any proposed changes." Longmuir is part of the nine-man SFL board which also includes Airdrie United chairman Jim Ballantyne, Alloa secretary Ewen Cameron, Dunfermline director of football Jim Leishman, Dumbarton chief executive Gilbert Lawrie, Queen's Park director Malcolm Mackay, Ayr United chairman Lachlan Cameron, Arbroath treasurer Alan Ripley and Albion Rovers chairman Frank Meade.