Voice of the players ‘can’t be ignored’ on SPFL reconstruction

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart. Picture: SNSPFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart. Picture: SNS
PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart. Picture: SNS
80 per cent want 14-team leagues in time for next season

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart insists the voice of the players “can’t be ignored” in the SPFL reconstruction debate.

The players’ union has given its emphatic backing to 
a new set-up being put in place on a permanent basis from the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

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Almost 700 PFA Scotland members, including more than 200 from Premiership clubs, responded to a survey in which a 14-14-14 divisional structure emerged as the most popular option. Almost 80 per cent of the players said reconstruction should happen in time for next season, while 76 per cent believe it should be permanent.

PFA Scotland carried out the survey in response to not being included in the SPFL’s working group on reconstruction, set up in the aftermath of the controversial passing 
of the resolution to end the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus crisis.

The survey results are being passed on to the working group and Wishart is hopeful they will be considered 

“You are talking about two-thirds of our membership, maybe 70 per cent, who voted,” said Wishart. “That’s a chunky number – when you look at surveys across the board, you rarely get that type of response.

“It was sent out to the PFA Scotland representatives at all 42 clubs and was done over just three days, so the players clearly wanted to participate. We had 400 responses within the first hour of it going out.

“I don’t think we would have been consulted by the SPFL working group if we hadn’t done this. When the working group was set up at first, we thought we should be part of it and discussed approaching them to be involved.

“But when we saw it go to 15 or 16 members, as it has turned out, we thought the survey was a better way for us to go. Your voice can get lost in a group of 15 or 16.

“We have a good relationship with the executive at the SPFL, we sit on various working groups and committees with them and the Scottish FA. But in terms of formal involvement in this type of thing, this is the first time that players have actually been consulted.

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“We’ve done surveys previously on artificial pitches and mental health and it’s clear the players want to be heard. They participate in high numbers.

“I think they have given a strong message here and, for that reason, it can’t really be ignored. These are the guys who are on the field of play.”

St Johnstone’s Liam Craig, the PFA Scotland chairman, said: “Everyone seems to have a view on league reconstruction, from our own clubs to supporters and the media. However, it is vitally important that the players voice is heard.”



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