Hibs, Hearts and ‘Well call for more play-off cash

THE three clubs proposing change over Premiership play-off money will need to gain the support of 75 per cent of teams from each division.

Leeann Dempster, pictured with Rod Petrie, is leading the call for change. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS
Leeann Dempster, pictured with Rod Petrie, is leading the call for change. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

Under current rules, the Scottish Professional Football League is entitled to 50 per cent of all ticket revenue from the three two-legged knock-out ties that constitute the play-offs.

And with Rangers and Hibernian among the teams chasing promotion, the SPFL expects to land a windfall in excess of £1 million from the six matches, with that money then distributed among all 42 professional clubs.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

However, Hibs, Hearts and Motherwell – who could compete in the play-off final as the side that finishes second bottom of the Premiership – want that levy reduced to 25 per cent and the issue will be put to a vote at next Thursday’s SPFL annual general meeting.

Leeann Dempster, pictured with Rod Petrie, is leading the call for change. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS

For change to be pushed through, those clubs would need the support of 75 per cent of teams in each tier of the game, meaning nine Premiership, eight Championship and at least 15 clubs from Leagues 1 and 2 would need to vote in favour.

However, it is thought that many lower league sides will be against the idea of having their end-of-season windfall cut.

An unnamed SPFL chairman said: “It’s not a huge amount of money that will come down to the lower league clubs but I can’t see it being changed to be quite honest.”

Dunfermline chairman Bob Garmory, whose side look likely to miss out on the League 1 play-offs, is set to attend next week’s AGM.

He said: “You can understand the position of those clubs but equally you can understand the position of the clubs that arrived at the decision that this was an equitable way to split the money for the greater good of Scottish football.

“If it’s being discussed at the meeting, I’ll hear both sides of the argument.”

In a statement on the official Hibs website, chief executive Leeann Dempster explained the Easter Road side’s stance.

She said: “The debate began in October when the Board of the SPFL sought to introduce minimum pricing for play-off matches and to change the rules to state that season tickets were not valid.

“We disagree, because we believe clubs should be allowed the flexibility to deal with their season ticket holders as they think best.

“Resolution one has been requisitioned by three clubs – and other clubs say they support it – because the Board of the SPFL refused to amend its proposal to accommodate the point of principle.

“The requisitioning clubs have suggested that the levy still applies but at half the current rate, given the new television income.

“Every club in the league continues to benefit and as the figures pan out for this season, no club will receive any less. We are looking for a balanced debate and fairness.”