I told Neil Doncaster to show some contrition, says Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack

Dons chief pleads for strong leadership from SPFL and says focus now should be trying to finish the season
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack supports reconstruction, but only for one or two seasons. Picture: Craig Foy/SNSAberdeen chairman Dave Cormack supports reconstruction, but only for one or two seasons. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack supports reconstruction, but only for one or two seasons. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has called on SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster to “show some contrition” following the controversial vote into how the 
2019-20 season should be concluded.

A decision was made last week to call a halt to the lower leagues after the majority of clubs voted in favour of a hastily-arranged SPFL resolution. A decision on how to finish the Premiership campaign has yet to be made.

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The process – which concluded on Wednesday with Dundee changing their “No” vote to “Yes” – has been heavily criticised and Cormack yesterday backed Rangers’ call for an independent investigation into how it was conducted.

“We can sit and talk for hours on what happened and why it happened, but look, it’s happened. We need to learn from this,” Cormack said in a wide-ranging interview with BBC Scotland’s Sportsound programme.

“I spoke to Neil yesterday and I said: ‘if I were in your position – and I wouldn’t want to be – then I would show some contrition for what has happened. Because it clearly is a vote that was forced down our throats in many ways, and that’s obvious.”

Cormack stopped short of saying that Doncaster should shoulder the blame for Scottish football’s current mess – “Neil must represent 42 clubs; It isn’t on one person, the board makes the decision” – but agrees with calls for an independent enquiry. “We owe it to ourselves and the fans to right this situation and bring back credibility,” he said. “If we don’t I’m not sure people will believe it.”

Cormack revealed that Aberdeen are losing £1 million every month that football is in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the SPFL to start demonstrating “clear leadership”.

He insists the priority now should be trying to find a way of competitive football returning safely and attempting to complete the remainder of the Premiership season. Earlier this month, Cormack stated that football might have to be played behind closed doors until the end of the year.

He added: “Clubs are burning £1m a month on this. We need to be getting back to: how do we play football safely again and survive? That should be the focus of the SPFL and leadership.

“We’d be as well taking £1m out to the car park at Pittodrie and setting fire to it. Every month that this goes by, it’s costing us £1m and costing other clubs different amounts.

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“I said to Neil that we [Aberdeen] want to see some clear leadership from the SPFL, setting out terms of reference for us to get back playing football safely. Let’s look at [playing games behind] closed doors.”

Football authorities in England are believed to be discussing ways to finish the Premier League season and Cormack added: “If we had £30m worth of TV money on the line to play these last eight games then I guarantee we’d play these games.”

Cormack, who replaced Stewart Milne in the Aberdeen hotseat at the end of last year, has also lent his support to reconstruction efforts but insists any revamp must only be temporary.

Hearts owner Ann Budge, who is co-chairing a 15-strong task force on reconstruction, has expressed her feeling that any changes in league structure should be short term, and Cormack agrees.

“I learned a long time ago in business that the worst time to make any long-term decision on anything is during a crisis,” he explained.

“We are for an expanded Premiership of 14 teams for one season or two seasons if it takes that to blend it back through. We think that’s the fair thing to do.

“I think the current set-up works. If we didn’t have this crisis we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”