SPL uncertainty 'hinders league sponsor search', says SFA chief

 

The Scottish Premier League's continued search for a sponsor is "no surprise," according to the Scottish Football Association's chief executive.

Stewart Regan said uncertainty over league restructuring is impacting on attracting a new top-flight sponsor.

Speaking as William Hill extended its sponsorship of the Scottish Cup, Regan said potential commercial partners required certainty.

"Hopefully reconstruction will deliver some positive outcomes," he said.

It's no surprise that, with so much uncertainty in the shape of the competition... it's difficult to give certainty to commercial partners

Stewart Regan SFA chief executive

The UK bookmaker, which has sponsored the Cup since 2011, had a year to run on its existing deal and will now see its relationship continue until 2016.

Regan expressed delight at the deal amid a "tough economic climate," arguing that the bookmaker had demonstrated it was a "passionate, imaginative supporter and champion of our game".

"The partnership has been really successful. William Hill's market and customers are largely football fans and we're delighted to have such a big brand," Regan said.

Clydesdale Bank's sponsorship, which began in 2007, ends this summer and Regan admits continued uncertainty over league restructuring could have a bearing.

"Their sponsorship is a matter for the league itself. It's no surprise that, with so much uncertainty in the shape of the competition; the number of teams; whether there's play-offs; one or two leagues, it's difficult to give certainty to commercial partners," said the SFA chief executive.

"I know there's work going on in the background. Hopefully, reconstruction will deliver some positive outcomes so we can get some certainty for the fans in particular, as well as the club chairmen.

"I've always been a 'glass half-full' person and think we've worked really hard to try to get reconstruction in place.

"It's been on the agenda for many years; long before I arrived in Scotland, but I've been pushing this for the past two-and-a-half years with my colleagues from the two leagues.

"Whilst there's a chink of light that something can be put in place, we shouldn't lose that opportunity and should still try to see if we can deliver it."

SPL clubs have unanimously agreed on a package of measures that would deliver a merged league body in time for next season.

The single governing organisation would oversee the 12-10-10-10 divisional structure that is presently in place, but there would be greater financial redistribution to the second tier.

The SPL also wants to introduce play-offs involving the team finishing 11th and teams second, third and fourth in the league below.

SFL clubs have yet to vote on the plan.