SFL vote: Revolt fears as clubs frustrated by wording of resolutions
SCOTTISH Football League clubs will meet at Hampden tomorrow to vote on whether to allow Charles Green’s newco Rangers to enter their organisation in the First Division – or whether they should be forced to start in the Third.
The prospect of a top tier expanded to 16 clubs – plus a one-off payment of £1 million to allow Rangers’ SFL games to be televised – is being dangled in front of them.
However, it emerged last night that there are so many clubs unhappy with the wording of the resolutions they’re being asked to take a stance on that there may be a mass revolt resulting in no vote at all. The fear is that Sevco Scotland Ltd will be shoe-horned into the First Division even though it’s likely that a majority of SFL clubs would prefer them to start, like every other new club, in the Third Division.
Clyde’s amendment to the original resolution – they claimed there was no clear choice between electing Sevco to the First and Third Divisions – hasn’t been incorporated and there is a growing feeling among the clubs that a new, more transparent, proposal will need to be drafted before a vote can take place.
With five working days’ notice required to call a general meeting, that means the earliest the vote could take place is 20 July – just eight days before the SFL clubs kick off their campaign with the Ramsdens Cup.
The SFA, SPL and SFL last night issued a joint statement confirming that the offer of a bigger SPL and play-offs is on the agenda – possibly by next season.
That hasn’t convinced everyone, however, with one league chairman claiming: “They’re offering us a 16-team SPL but the SPL clubs haven’t even been asked whether they would agree to it.
“Yet we’re supposed to vote Rangers into the First Division on the strength of this and then trust them to keep their promise.”
The news that SFA chief executive Stewart Regan will impose a new league set-up on his member clubs if they can’t agree a new structure in the next four months is also likely to anger SFL members ahead of tomorrow’s meeting.
It came at the end of the joint statement released yesterday: “In the event that a final decision is not reached by 30th November 2012, the Scottish FA will seek to implement a new structure in time for the 2013/2014 season.”
Even with the chance of changing the shape of the Scottish game on the table, Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall insists he’ll vote for Green’s reincarnated Rangers to join the SFL in the bottom tier.
“David Longmuir is sending a document out and we will go from there and assemble on Friday morning and make a decision,” he said.
“His document will detail what the benefits are to the clubs, although there is still no clarity regarding Dundee and Dunfermline’s position, which is disappointing because that should have been dealt with some time ago.
“It’s all down to the absence of a rule. There is no rule to cover this situation so now it’s down to personal opinions. For me, it should be decided by a play-off but I don’t know whether that can be fitted in.
“For me, nothing much has changed. I still favour the newco joining in the Third Division. That’s what their manager has said he wants and it’s quite clearly what their fans have said that they want and I would support their wishes. How would I see Friday’s vote going? It’s very close – and that’s not me sitting on the fence, it genuinely will be very close. It could go either way.
“It’s important to say that I’m not at all against certain aspects of league reconstruction. What I am against is Rangers being railroaded into the First Division, with one issue piggy-backing on the other.
“This has gone on for far too long as it is. Given the time limits, Friday is crucial, isn’t it?
“If we go much longer than that then you start to think about having to put the start of the season back. We need an answer because we’re all tired of it.”
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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