First Division clubs are best-placed to cash in on reconstruction

More than £1.3 million would in future be redistributed from the top eight clubs in Scotland to the rest of the top 24, under current income streams, if league reconstruction plans are voted in.

The detailed figures are included in a series of documents published by Kilmarnock as they engage with supporters over plans for a new merged league, which would see two top divisions of 12 split into three groups of eight after 22 games.

About half of the redistributed money would come from the team finishing second, while the champions would lose up to £315,000.

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The Scottish Premier League runners-up will this season bank an estimated £2.4m, and just over £1.7m under the new plans.

However, figures show that would rise to just under £1.9m with additional revenues clubs are hoping for if the league attracts extra television money and sponsorship, with the champions losing just £115,000 in total.

The team that wins the Irn-Bru First Division this season will earn just £68,000 but, under the new system, a second-tier side could earn close to £600,000, depending on their placing in the middle eight.

The top four clubs in the middle eight would start the following season in the top 12, meaning potential for four relegation places.

The changes are designed to make the current First Division clubs far more competitive as well as stimulating the top flight with more variety and meaningful games.

Hamilton chairman Les Gray believes the plans could help maintain full-time football outside the top 12. He said: “I think there’s something in it for 
everyone. I think the clubs who will stand to benefit the most, potentially, are the middle eight group, financially. With £200,000 or more extra for a club like Hamilton, who finished fourth last year, is substantial.

“For me, and the chairmen in the First Division who want to sustain full-time status, we think this is a real step forward and it will give us a better income stream. We can then compete, sustain our business models if we go up and back down again, whereas, at the moment, that isn’t the case. For me, that’s the most important factor.”

The bottom 18 teams would see no difference in their current centralised income streams, although there is the potential to earn more money after the season ends and they would see their base incomes increase if extra revenue is brought in.

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The bottom half of the bottom eight would all be engaged in relegation issues, with the final two teams automatically relegated and the fifth and sixth-placed teams involved in play-offs with teams finishing from third to sixth in League One.

Scottish Football League clubs will decide whether to move to a bottom league of 18 teams or admit two more clubs and go for a 12-12-10-10 structure.

The bottom two teams in the lowest division would be involved in play-offs to maintain their league status.

Kilmarnock’s document also shows some of the reasons for rejecting alternatives such as a 16 or 18-team top league, which would provide less income from television and gate receipts and mean more meaningless games.

A 14-team league with a split also does not carry enough support due to the difficulty in fitting in fixtures under one model and the prospect of meaningless games under another model.

The SFL and SPL clubs are expected to vote on the plans and a combined rule book in March.