League reconstruction: St Mirren to vote against plan

SFL Chief Executive David Longmuir and President Jim Ballantyne. Picture: SNS
SFL Chief Executive David Longmuir and President Jim Ballantyne. Picture: SNS
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League reconstruction plans were thrown into uncertaintly last night when it emerged that St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour is to vote against the proposed 12-12-18 model.

Ross County have previously suggested they may vote against the planned reform of the Scottish leagues and if two clubs cast No votes the motion will fail because an 11-1 majority is required under Scottish Premier League rules.

The proposals involved two top divisions of 12 clubs which would split into three leagues of eight midway through the season. The bottom division would comprise 18 clubs.

Other features of the proposals include a revised financial distribution model which would see a fairer distribution of wealth with more money trickling down the divisions.

The plan also proposes a merging of the SPL and Scottish Football League into one body.

The proposals come as a package but, if SPL clubs do not vote it through, it is likely the current make-up of 12-10-10-10 will continue for next season.

Though both County and St Mirren are keen on some features of the package for change, issues such as the use of under-21 players in matchday squads and keeping the current voting structure are sticking points.

The SPL clubs are due to vote on the proposal on 15 April.

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson believes the 12-12-18 plan is the best way forward for the Scottish game and yesterday expressed concern that it could now founder.

“I’ve put aside a number of my concerns because I think it’s the right thing for the greater good of the game so I would urge others to look at that,” he told BBC Radio Scotland.

“There’s a lot of positive things in there. One league body is important, all-through distribution of funds is important, the pyramid system is very important to the SFA and that’s just a few of the big issues that are there. If it doesn’t happen for next season, that’s it finished. It’s now or never. If it doesn’t happen, it’s the status quo.

“We know the gap in wealth is enormous and there [would be a] lot of money being given up by the top league to go into the division below and filtered down to other leagues. That won’t happen, simple as that.

“We’ve got an opportunity to improve the game. I think it’s got enough of the good things in it to take it forward and vote yes for it.”