'New tone and direction for Scottish football': Deloitte report sets out stall for enhanced era

Cinch Premiership clubs who commissioned an independent review into the Scottish Professional Football League believe a plan to almost double income could signal a “new era” for Scottish football.

Income streams are set to increase in the SPFL.
Income streams are set to increase in the SPFL.

Hibs, Aberdeen, Dundee, Dundee United and Hearts employed Deloitte to undertake a “critical and transparent” review of the SPFL last year aimed at improving all aspects of the league.

As a follow-up to the report, an innovation and strategy group comprising representatives from Aberdeen, Celtic, Hearts, Hibs and Rangers has now developed a five-year strategic action plan to implement the recommendations. All Premiership clubs are said to have signalled “overwhelming support on the direction of travel”.

The over-arching purpose is a realignment of the SPFL from a largely administrative function to a more robust and dynamic commercial structure, with the aim of increasing distributable income for Scottish clubs from £28.4million to £50m by 2029.

The strategic priorities are to maximise broadcast income and grow commercial partnerships and revenues. This will include securing more commercially attractive deals with broadcasters and increasing the value of overseas rights, which would see more matches being sold.

Improving the image, brand and profile of the SPFL is also a priority, with the ambition to position the league both domestically and internationally as the “most dramatic, passionate and exciting” in Europe and to strengthen co-operation between clubs and the league.

Other goals are to improve the profile, prowess and finances of the women’s elite game in Scotland and to establish a sustainable youth development competitions programme for SPFL clubs with the aim of nurturing young Scottish talent more effectively.

Hibs chairman Ron Gordon, speaking on behalf of the five commissioning clubs, said: “We’re very excited about this strategic action plan which sets a new tone and direction for the SPFL and the game in Scotland.

“The proposed strategic building blocks are designed to grow our clubs, the SPFL, and the men’s and women’s game at every level.

“A more substantial and comprehensive broadcast partnership, a focused and robust commercial structure and team, an investment and commitment to the growth of the women’s game, and the development of our young men’s players are all critical to reaching our aspirational goal of £50m in revenues.

“Football is Scotland’s passion – we have a dynamic and exciting league with historic clubs and passionate fans. The image and brand of the SPFL should reflect and celebrate the many positives that our clubs and league provide our communities across the country.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster welcomed the clubs’ collaboration in trying to enhance the Scottish game.

“On behalf of the SPFL, I would like to thank Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers for their constructive approach and their investment of time, money and expertise into this project, which will underpin the league’s strategy over the coming years,” he said.

“Their valuable work will undoubtedly enable the league to bring in additional commercial revenues for the benefit of all 42 SPFL member clubs and for Scottish football as a whole. It is an exciting time for the game.”