Premiership meets over Ann Budge’s plan and claims of cash help

Hearts owner’s proposal likely to be rejected

Ann Budge requires an 11-1 majority from Premiership clubs for her plan to be approved. Picture: SNS.
Ann Budge requires an 11-1 majority from Premiership clubs for her plan to be approved. Picture: SNS.

Premiership clubs will meet today to discuss Ann Budge’s proposal for league reconstruction and also seek further clarity on her revelation that “philanthropists” have offered significant funds to help Scottish football survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hearts owner Budge’s plan for a 14-14-14 set-up from next season, which would save the Tynecastle club from their controversial relegation to the 
Championship, is widely expected to be rejected.

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Even if it receives sufficient support among the top-flight clubs, from whom an 11-1 majority in favour is needed, opposition to it from those in the Championship, League 1 and League 2 leaves it looking doomed to fail.

SPFL rules mean it would require eight of the ten Championship clubs and 15 of the 20 clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 combined to push it through. Several clubs, including Ayr United, Clyde, Cowdenbeath, Elgin City and Peterhead, have already made it clear they would vote against the proposal with several others understood to hold the same view. But many clubs, facing severe financial hardship amid the ongoing uncertainty over when they will be able to play matches in front of crowds again, will be keen to learn greater detail on the “pot of money” Budge says is available from philanthropists who had approached her.

Budge was critical of the SPFL’s response to the potential windfall, accusing the governing body of not being quick or decisive enough when she told them of it.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said he believed Budge was going to continue talking to the unnamed philanthropists but, having heard her state there are no conditions attached to the money, he is now prepared to talk to them directly.

It is understood that the SPFL, acutely aware of the criticism of their corporate governance throughout the acrimonious process which led to the 2019-20 season being curtailed, are at pains to ensure due diligence is carried out on those offering the money.

Doncaster hopes to be in a position to update clubs during the series of divisional meetings scheduled to discuss league reconstruction this week.

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