Rebel SFL1 clubs seek vote of no confidence in board

REBEL First Division clubs are considering proposing a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Football League’s board of management.

SFL President Jim Ballantyne. Picture: SNS

Eight First Division clubs plus Second Division champions Queen of the South have already indicated their intention to resign from the SFL.

They would be joined by Dundee if the Dens Park club is relegated from the Scottish Premier League and the ten would then attempt to form a second-tier SPL.

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However, such is the level of their dissatisfaction, the dissident clubs want to oust the SFL hierarchy. The board of management is led by president Jim Ballantyne (Airdrie United), vice-president Ewen Cameron (Alloa Athletic) and chief executive David Longmuir.

The disaffected clubs are understood to be frustrated at the slow place of change as they seek a shake-up of league football and more equitable distribution of monies.

Scottish Premier League clubs will meet on Tuesday and are expected to welcome the First Division renegades into the fold as they attempt to keep plans for league reconstruction moving forward. But the SPL will not be extending an invitation to Rangers to join their ranks, according to one senior source

The breakaway is likely to go ahead, provided play-offs are agreed as a 
primary part of the two-tier rejig. And, with Ross County expected to vote in favour of play-offs, the required 11-1 majority is expected.

Longmuir has questioned the wisdom of the proposed breakaway, branding it “desperate”, and has made it clear that his organisation is unlikely to allow clubs to quit without a fight.

He insists that the move would see the renegades lose out on the 
£1.8 million annual settlement which is paid by the SPL to the SFL sides and he questioned whether there would be a financial benefit in quitting the SFL, where they also get a share of Rangers’ TV monies and League Cup takings.

But one SPL insider believes the breakaway will happen – provided play-offs are part of the deal.

“At the very least this has been a shot across the bows of the SFL and shows how strongly people want to push through some form of reconstruction in time for next year,” said the source. “We have all spent a lot of time trying to find the a suitable consensus and I don’t think the desire was there to wait another year.

“The play-offs would create more interest and more meaningful games. One of the proposals would see the top four clubs in the new First Division involved and that is attractive to everyone, including SPL clubs because everyone knows that if they go down, then there is a greater chance to come back up at the earliest opportunity.

“But I don’t see Rangers being invited to join us. I know it would probably give us a more attractive commercial package but I don’t see people voting in favour of that.”

The previous proposal of 12-12-18 fell at the first hurdle when Ross County and St Mirren voted against and, if the latest suggestion is to include changes in the distribution of wealth, another 11-1 majority will be required.

“But this time, I would be more hopeful of it going through because Ross County have made it clear they look favourably on play-offs being introduced so, if that was part of the package, and I think we would all want that to be the case, then that would be a shift in votes,” the insider said.

“Reading the papers, it would seem that Stewart Gilmour also wants play-offs so he might change his vote as well.”

While stating that the feeling is that any league restructuring would ideally involve all professional clubs, one compromise that has been mooted is the staggering of that, with the willing parties jumping ship this summer and the rest being brought under the same umbrella a year later.

“Clubs are struggling and want to find a way of staying full-time and those that don’t want to be part of that, that’s fine, but we can’t let them hold everyone else back.”