SPL must change to ensure its survival
The SPL is set for change and about time too. It needs more teams.
Why? Well, clubs are saying income is down dramatically, both at the gate and commercially; leading one chairman to tell me that wages could be cut by up to 25% next season.
Fans are fed up with a stale product. More than 90% of fans who responded to a recent survey by Supporters Direct said they were fed up watching teams face each other four times a season, and want a revamped top flight.
That's not to say the football is dire, it's not. I've seen some top class games this season among the poorer fare.
Even in Spain, not every side plays like Barcelona, so we shouldn't expect teams here to play like them either!
However, the game should entertain and the tightness of the league often precludes that.
There is no silver bullet to sort out Scottish football's ills, so a compromise is the best we can hope for.
Teams should allow more young players to emerge since the risks of relegation are lessened.
An 18-club league would take almost all the full-time clubs in, leaving a very weakened First Division, which creates problems for those teams then relegated into it because of a lack of crowds, income and quality.
A 16-club set up allows only 30 fixtures and therefore a serious drop in income.
So, although not completely convinced, I'm starting to think that the proposed 14-team league with a split into a top six and a bottom eight after 26 games, and then featuring play-offs, is the best of a bad bunch.
It leaves a reasonably healthy First Division with a nucleus of full-time clubs and increased odds of promotion for them.
Having more clubs in the top league, of course, means the SPL cash being shared out more thinly; but it's a price worth paying in the long-term.
Otherwise, a succession of clubs will go part-time and could even fold in the coming years.
It will take an 11-1 vote to change the SPL structure, though, and that means the Old Firm, who usually vote together, will play a crucial role.
Their dreams of playing in England are dead and if the Scottish game dies they also die; so the powerbrokers at Ibrox and Parkhead have to think of the greater health of the game.
The current set up is bust; it needs to be refreshed and revitalised.
The SPL must change or die.