Foundation of Hearts want new thinking at the top of Scottish football, claiming the current governors have encouraged tribalism which will last for many years to come.
The fan-led group is dismayed by the arbitration decision which upheld relegations for Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer earlier today.
The Scottish Professional Football League won the case convincingly after Hearts and Thistle launched a legal appeal, which was heard by an independent panel.
In the aftermath of the verdict, the Foundation chairman Stuart Wallace sent an email to the organisation’s 8,000-plus members calling for definitive change in how the game is run.
FoH are due to take ownership of Hearts from Ann Budge in the coming months and want fresh thinking at the top.
Wallace’s email read: “Today we all received the decision of the SFA arbitration panel and while the Foundation board is disappointed with the result, we are totally behind the fact that the club, along with Partick Thistle, pursued the issue as far as they could.
“By standing up to an unworthy and indefensible strategy of causing harm to clubs, Hearts and Partick Thistle continued to shine a light on the shortcomings of our governing body and its administrative incompetence and dubious practices.
“We very much hope that one positive outcome of this affair will be that those in our game with professional integrity (and a demonstrable commitment to a policy that a member organisation exists to support all of its members, particularly in times of crisis) will now stand up and demand the desperately needed improvement to our sport’s administration.
“The sad tribalism which this regime’s behaviour has encouraged will have a long-lasting legacy, unfortunately.
“Speaking as a body representing a considerable community of supporters, we believe that now is the time for new thinking and new strategies to look to a more innovative way forward for our sport, one which is founded on the well-being of the entire football community.
“Our view is that the current leaders of the game have demonstrated that they are simply not up to that task. They will for ever be remembered as the overseers of a very, very bleak period for Scottish football, and now is without doubt the time for those with principles to help our failing sport.
“We all heard the oft-repeated remarks that a crisis is not a time for change, a position which appeared to be based on pure self-interest. However, let us give those with that opinion the benefit of the doubt.
“With the crisis now hopefully abating, let us now look to them to sort out this shambolic organisation which has made our game a laughing stock around the world. Let us look to them to restore some principle and respect to the leadership of Scottish football.
“Hearts fans know all about rising to a challenge and bringing about positive change. Let us now hope that others in our wider community have the mettle and the desire to do likewise.
“The future otherwise is indeed depressing, and while Hearts and Partick Thistle are the current fall-guys, it will be the sport as a whole which ultimately will suffer.
“As a grassroots organisation, the Foundation of Hearts is ready and willing to join with those who care in seeking a better-led, better-organised future underpinned by integrity and vision.
“We would ask other fans’ bodies – and indeed club chairmen and other leaders in our sport who currently have the power – to use this moment to think beyond their own clubs, to consider how this current state of affairs has been reached and what its potential consequences may be, and quite simply to demand change.”
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