SPL voting system still a hindrance

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IN the spirit of “clarification”, which has become something of a buzzword in Scottish football over the past few years, this correspondent is happy to take on board an observation on the assessment of the 12-12-18 reconstruction plans which appeared on this page last Monday.

In the course of revealing the scale of financial inducements being dangled in front of the higher-placed Scottish Football League clubs to accept the proposal, The Scotsman was also able to confirm that the much-loathed 11-1 voting structure among the top 12 clubs would, contrary to popular belief, actually remain in place.

That means any change to so-called “protective matters” – most notably financial distribution and league structure – will still require the support of 90 per cent of clubs in the Premiership, as the new top flight would be called, in the first instance.

The Scottish Premier League contacted The Scotsman in response to the column, correctly pointing out that changes to protective matters will also need 75 per cent backing of all 24 clubs in the Premiership and Championship in the next instance, as well as 75 per cent of all 42 clubs in a full vote also encompassing the 18 clubs in what would be the National League.

In summary, that means at least 32 of all 42 senior clubs would have to be in favour of any major change.

It is certainly more democratic than the current set-up which sees all significant power rest in the hands of the SPL.

But, if the top 12 clubs could not force change without help from elsewhere under 12-12-18, the retention of their 11-1 voting system means that the power of veto still lies with just two clubs in the first instance. That is the kind of iniquity which has frustrated so many clubs and supporters for so long.

Ironically, it is also a system which may yet scupper the current proposal. For if Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher – passionately opposed to 12-12-18 – can persuade his club’s board to align themselves with Highland rivals Ross County, the plan will not get beyond first base.

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