The SPFL put pressure on Lowland League chiefs to change division rules and accept Brechin City in the event of the Glebe Park side’s relegation, a leading figure has claimed.
Lowland League chairman George Fraser – who also serves as general manager of BSC Glasgow – appeared on BBC Radio Scotland programme Sportsound as part of a discussion into the breakdown in league reconstruction talks.
One of the options supposedly on the table was a three-tier structure of 14-14-16, with Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers joining the SPFL from the Lowland League and Highland League respectively, but negotiations hit the buffers on Friday.
If the football season had played out normally and Brechin had finished bottom of Scottish League Two, they would have faced a play-off final against either the winners of a two-leg play-off semi-final between Kelty and Brora, with the winner taking the 42nd spot in the SPFL.
If the League Two club loses the final, as Berwick Rangers did last season, they drop into the fifth tier with geographical location determining whether they join the Highland or Lowland League.
Fraser claims Brechin had indicated a preference not to join the Highland League, but claimed on Sportsound that pressure had been put on Lowland League bosses to rejig their boundaries and accept Mark Wilson’s side in their division.
“There were certain insinuations made that, if we didn't move towards this proposal then we may find life a bit more difficult in dealing with our friends at the SPFL," Fraser said.
“Pressured is the word.
“In the last five or six years we've had a good relationship with the SPFL. But we rely on the SPFL's invite for our champion clubs and teams two, three and four to take part in the Tunnock's [Challenge] Cup and the Betfred Cup."
Asked if he felt the cup berths might have been withdrawn had the Lowland League played hardball over accepting Brechin, Fraser added: “I think it may have been on the agenda.”