THE board of Dunfermline issued the following statement today regarding the Rangers newco competing in Division One next season and the proposed league reconstruction.
The Board of Directors of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club would like to make the following statement, firstly to the Club’s loyal supporters and more widely to the whole of Scottish Football, following an emergency Board Meeting today. We believe that this notice will now fully clarify our own position, for the avoidance of any further doubt, rather than snippets of information or interviews attributable to the Club being used in isolation or out of context. It is a clear that a number of different agendas exist at present, but DAFC seek a fully inclusive solution that is in the genuine interests of Scottish Football.
The sporting integrity of our “national game” must be retained along with its longer term commercial interests rather than another short term solution, which ignores completely the views and concerns of the ordinary fan. Matters are currently being progressed in an illogical manner, as the SPL should have met and voted on the Rangers situation definitively. Thereafter, if there is to be change a joint presentation should be made by all the Scottish Football governing bodies together and not on an ad hoc basis as at present.
Until the Club had seen the exact proposals now being put forward, coupled with the feedback from our own supporters, which was vitally important, we had been reticent to speculate as previously commented. However, the Board of DAFC on behalf of its supporters, and the wider footballing community of Dunfermline and West Fife, can now confirm that it will not be voting in favour of any solution which involves “Newco” being parachuted into SFL Division 1 next season.
We asked our fans for feedback on this issue, and within 3 days we had over 2,000 responses, and even allowing for an element of infiltration, the results were conclusive. 95.4% of supporters were against “Newco” being parachuted into SFL Division 1, in return for restructuring Scottish Football; and 96.1% of supporters thought that “Newco” should be required to apply for membership of SFL Division 3. In anyone’s language these results are compelling and will likely be replicated by fans of other Scottish Football Clubs.
The revised proposals we have reviewed contain a number of suggestions that are entirely credible in isolation, and everyone agrees that the structure of Scottish Football must change, but it must be done for the right reasons and not used as some form of bargaining tool. The proposal document makes little or no mention of fans or their views, as was the case with the league reconstruction debate, and all these issues must now be put on the table to deliver a credible, equitable and viable solution. The document strongly implies that if the proposals are not accepted, then we will have financial meltdown in Scottish Football, but if the loyal fans across the country desert the game then commercial sponsors or TV companies will have no one to promote or broadcast to.
The McLeish Report made a number of solid recommendations, but Scottish Football needs to be more radical with a number of additional matters being addressed as a matter of urgency, such as what do the paying public want? It would appear that the broad thrust of the McLeish Report appears to have been given immediate traction in the last couple of weeks, entirely for the wrong reasons.
As had been speculated, a further proposal now being presented is Dundee Football Club taking the place of “Club 12” in the SPL. DAFC acknowledge that the Club was relegated last season as our results on the pitch were simply not good enough, but we worked to a strict budget and had to take some very difficult decisions over the course of the season which upset our own fans, due to circumstances out with our control. We were rightly replaced by Ross County Football Club on sporting grounds, and we would like to take this opportunity to wish them every success next season.
However, the situation regarding Rangers has led to the creation of a place for “Club 12” an entirely different scenario, which has developed radically since February, and was subject to many decision making delays by the SPL. Despite asking for some direction or clarification, we have had no communication whatsoever from the SPL as to the rationale, rule reference or justification as to why Dundee FC is being proposed to take the place of “Club 12” rather than DAFC. We are requesting in writing a definitive response from the SPL by the 5th July to allow both ourselves and Dundee FC to plan for next season.
From our recent survey, 56.5% of our supporters think we would be better served playing in SFL1 next year, with the remaining stating they would prefer to be playing in the SPL. Although, this represents a broad split, the Board still believe it has a moral duty to its supporters and sponsors to robustly defend the Club’s position on this matter, in the interests of both sporting integrity and legal precedent.
At this stage we would not like to comment any further in public on this matter until we have received formal intimation of the SPL decision which presumably carries the SFA & SFL support. We shall review our stance in the light of information received.
Finally, can we again urge all true supporters of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club to stick together during these uncertain times, and not to defer on renewing their season tickets and get behind Jim Jefferies and the team.