Stalemate At Hampden

Last updated : 29 April 2013 By QUEEN MAD


Scottish Premier League clubs have failed to reach consensus over league reconstruction after their latest meeting at Hampden but will meet again to consider introducing play-offs..

The 12 top flight clubs had gathered at the national stadium to examine plans for change just two weeks after a package of proposals were rejected after failing to get the required votes.

After a meeting that lasted several hours, the clubs did not make a decision on plans for next season, though a meeting is planned for early May in which playoffs will be considered.

First Division clubs in particular have been keen on seeing a playoff system introduced that would potentially see an extra promotion place for SFL sides. The exact format of the playoffs is still open to discussion but is still a realistic possibility for introduction next season.

"It remains a possibility, no more than that," SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said. "The clubs have expressed a keenness to get round the table again.

"It may be that nothing can be agreed but the clubs are keen to have that conversation.

"The clubs reluctantly agreed that given the time before now and the end of the season, it is not possible to achieve a full merger in time for the summer so it is looking unlikely that there will be any reconstruction involving a merger.

"But we looked at four different play-off models today."

Doncaster warned that the pros and cons of play-offs would have to be considered by every club and there were no guarantees they would be adopted without other changes attached.

"There is a view generally that play-offs could be a positive thing but it may suit some clubs more than others," he said. "The devil is always in the detail and whilst we all might like the idea of play-offs you need to know how they will work.

"The clubs need to understand all the facts and figures, exactly what the risk is and what additional money they would get as part of those play-offs. All of those remain work in progress.

"What you are asking clubs to do is to take on the additional risk of being relegated but without all of the financial benefits that would have been accompanied with that risk with the all-through distribution model and the merger.

"What you need to do is cost out what revenues are likely to be generated by one particular model and how you distribute those revenues.

"The clubs will be getting together next Tuesday but understanding there will be a note of caution because of the difficulties of taking one element of the proposals. It is complicated."

Hearts managing director David Southern said: "It was a broadly positive meeting. The idea of league reconstruction will not be on the table but play-offs will.

"We are all still talking and all still moving in the right direction.

"There was no vote today, just discussions but play-offs are very much still on the table."