SPFL chairman hits out at 'bribe' and 'backroom deals' over Colts teams as he makes reconstruction claim

A Scottish football league chairman has hit out at the SPFL and Scottish FA for their role in three Colts teams being admitted to the Lowland League.

Stenhousemuir chief Iain McMenemy has accused the league and governing body of bribing Lowland League clubs in “grubby backroom deals” with the carrot of possible reconstruction.

On Tuesday it was confirmed that Celtic, Hearts and Rangers can field a Colts side in the fifth tier next season.

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It appeared the Colts inclusion in the Lowland League was set to be scrapped with clubs not keen on seeing the division increased to 19 teams following a reported ultimatum to include all three or none at all.

However, a more recent vote saw the 16 clubs split, 8-8, with Lowland League chairman Thomas Brown casting the deciding vote in favour of Colts sides.

He said:“Importantly, we now look forward to working with the Scottish FA, the SPFL and our friends in the pyramid to create some new solutions to some existing challenges which will provide a bright future at all levels of our game."

The SFA chief Ian Maxwell confirmed the organisation “will oversee a discussion in parallel to propose and implement a long-term plan with the objectives of optimising the pyramid”.

McMenemy believes it is a “bribe" to ensure the three Colts sides were approved. The Stenny chief also warned that reconstruction is unlikely “under these circumstances”.

Celtic and Rangers had Colts sides in the Lowland League last season. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

He told the Daily Mail: "Reconstructing the pyramid was not on the agenda, so you have to ask what's changed? Why now?

“It seems pretty obvious that this issue has been hastily thrown into the negotiations at the 11th hour. We knew nothing about it.

“Those at the negotiating table have offered to look at relegating more League Two clubs from the SPFL in order to bribe the Lowland League into accepting Premiership colt teams into their league next season.

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“The manner in which they have gone about this is just not acceptable. Clubs in Leagues One and Two are not here as bargaining chips for Premiership clubs and our fate won't be decided in grubby backroom deals behind our backs.

“I can tell you now that reconstruction will not happen under these circumstances. I feel sorry for the Lowland League clubs who have been deceived into thinking this was likely.”

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