SFL chief David Longmuir says clubs favour restructuring

 

League restructuring appears to be on course for next season following a meeting of all 30 Scottish Football League clubs.

No vote was taken, but the SFL's chief executive David Longmuir said there was unanimity on a number of key issues.

He will take revised proposals to the Scottish Premier League, including a change to the proposed financial distribution model.

That does not involve the SPL clubs giving up more money than under the previously proposed model.

Longmuir said it "recognised the importance of the Second and Third Division clubs to the tapestry of Scottish football".

Asked if this meant current First Division clubs would gain less than they would have under the original proposal, he added: "They're giving up something that isn't there yet.

"On the aspirational distribution model that's on the table that is yet to be confirmed through a due diligence process, potentially what is there is going to be more evenly shared (throughout all leagues)."

One potential sticking point, however, is that when the SPL clubs examine the SFL's proposal on Monday, they will see the "softer landing" that was to accompany relegation being made less soft.

SFL AREAS OF UNANIMITY

  • A plan to perform due diligence on the proposed merged league body
  • The distribution model to be put to the SPL
  • The governance model, which would mean a board made up of three top league representatives and one from each of the other leagues

The SPL has yet to decide if the clubs will take a formal vote on the matter on Monday.

"We are most definitely willing to continue with a 42-club solution to the league reconstruction process," said Longmuir.

"We are going to work hard to bring this to fruition as quickly as we possibly can in the hope that what we deliver benefits the whole game in Scotland.

"There are a number of things that we got unanimity on today. We are going to initiate a process of due diligence to ensure we get to a place where we have a proper health check on any merged organisation to ensure there are no surprises.

"We agreed that the recommended financial distribution model that the SFL put to the SPL this week is going to take us forward and we got unanimous agreement that that was the will of the clubs.

"I know Neil Doncaster is putting it to his clubs on Monday and I hope that they look upon it as being a fair and appropriate way to spread what wealth we've got in the game.

"On governance, the initial governance model that was proposed, and seems still to be the favoured governance model, is not one that we wish to pursue.

"The governance model that the clubs, in unanimous fashion agreed to support, was the one that I previously put to the SPL, which is a 3-1-1-1 governance model [a board made up of three top league representatives and one from each of the other leagues], as opposed to a 3-2-1 governance model.

"This is a marvellous opportunity for everybody to get behind it. We are not far away."

Asked whether the recent bad feeling within the SFL and the unhappiness of the First Division clubs about the way he had handled the situation had been addressed, Longmuir again pointed to the unanimity achieved on those three areas.

He added that the notion of a pyramid structure, which would mean relegation from the Third Division and potential access to the new league for clubs from outwith the current senior structure, needed more work.

The result of Friday's meeting will be passed to the SPL to consider at their all-club meeting on Monday, with Longmuir adding: "The SPL have a huge opportunity to deliver what Scottish football needs and if they can embrace and engage with us on some of these issues, which we're nearly there on, then there's a big chance that this can be a big step forward."

The SFL would then also have the opportunity to ratify change with their own vote, which would require 23 clubs to vote in favour.

Longmuir said towards the end of June was a reasonable timescale if the league bodies are to be merged.

The SFL would be wound up, with the SPL being used as the corporate vehicle for the new body.

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