Hearts, Hibs, Dundee, Dundee United and Aberdeen have set up an independent review in conjunction with consultancy firm Deloitte as they attempt to “identify additional revenue streams for the benefit of the game”.
But McLeish, whose own two-part review a decade ago was only partly implemented, has claimed the five clubs are intent on creating a Scottish version of a Super League.
In spite of Dundee United owner Mark Ogren’s comments at the weekend where he sought to offer an assurance that their efforts were for the benefit of the whole of Scottish football, McLeish fears for smaller clubs being left behind. He reserved particular condemnation for the SFA, who he has accused of a lack of leadership.
The former First Minister is concerned that the clubs behind the review could be advocating a reduction in the number of professional teams in Scotland following recent comments made by Ron Gordon. The Hibs owner suggested that almost halving the number of clubs in the SPFL would strengthen the league.
McLeish has responded by expressing concern about the future of clubs in League One and Two.
In a column for The Scotsman, the former East Fife defender said any update of his own review "should be part of a wider ambition involving every aspect of the game and not a narrow segment whose views are increasingly obvious and driven by the maxim: of the few, by the few, for the few.
“Clubs in League One and Two now fear for their future,” he added. “They of course should have a future. However, because the SFA is not functioning and the SPFL have been taken over by a few clubs, the prospects don’t look good.
"I have a hint of personal sadness when it comes to a club like East Fife where the future may be challenging but the history is remarkable.”
McLeish believes Rangers and Celtic are only standing aside in this instance - four of the clubs driving the review have American-based owners - because they know that whatever changes are made to the financial model will benefit them down the line.