Elgin City: Chairman Graham Tatters says reconstruction should not be SPFL priority

Elgin City have nine players signed for next season
Elgin City have nine players signed for next season

Elgin City "will be finished in three months" if the UK government's furlough scheme is not extended beyond June, says chairman Graham Tatters.

And he believes SPFL reconstruction should be shelved because the priority has to be keeping clubs in business amid the coronavirus crisis.

Scottish football has been suspended indefinitely since 13 March.

"I can't get it across forcibly enough that some clubs won't survive this," Tatters said.

"We've got to start thinking as a unit instead of bun-fighting all the time. That's why I can't understand why we're going through this reconstruction."

The Scottish League Two club have placed all players and staff, bar one employee, on the job retention scheme, which pays 80% of wages up to £2,500 per month.

But Tatters says Elgin's contract commitments for next season means they won't survive without further help should the shutdown continue.

"We were in the play-off spots with a really good squad, we were the form team, and we signed nine of that current squad. So after June we have nine players signed," he told BBC Sportsound.

"If the furlough stops, we're finished in about three months' time. Nobody is giving us any guidance on contracts or what will happen with the players. There is so much more for us to worry about than reconstruction."

A 15-person reconstruction group, co-chaired by Hearts owner Ann Budge and Hamilton Academical vice-chair Les Gray, was set up by the SPFL in the wake of the resolution being passed to cut short the lower-league campaign.

And while Tatters believes reshuffling the leagues is unnecessary amid the current crisis, he revealed the 10 League Two clubs have come to a consensus to back a 14-14-14 structure.

'It's as though the lower leagues don't exist'

Iain McMenemy, chairman of rival bottom-tier club Stenhousemuir, is in favour of reconstruction, but argues it needs to offer more than a short-term fix.

"I referred to it as a sham because before the vote we were told there were no pre-conditions on reconstruction," McMenemy said. "And then the vote goes through and Ann Budge and [Aberdeen chairman] Dave Cormack say in the media actually it is just temporary, not long term. Well, that is a pre-condition we weren't aware of.

"I believe reconstruction should be about righting the wrongs that happened this season, because it's incredibly unfair to get relegated through a boardroom decision. But the game does need permanent reconstruction. It needs fresh thinking.

"I get very frustrated because I hear what the likes of Budge, Cormack and Gray have said and it's all centred around reconstruction in the Premiership. It's as though the lower leagues don't exist.

"If they don't start to take us seriously, there is a collective of 10 votes sitting there who want to be listened to, otherwise nothing is going to go through."

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