SPFL could be forced to sanction probe - even if vote falls below 75 per cent

Partick Thistle chief Gerry Britton says investigation should be called if a third of clubs support it

Speaking ahead of today’s EGM, Partick Thistle chief executive Gerry Britton says the SPFL ‘should be able to accept critical evaluation’. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS

Partick Thistle chief executive Gerry Britton believes it may only require the support of a third of the 42 member clubs at today’s EGM to convince the SPFL board that an independent inquiry into their corporate governance must go ahead.

Backing for the resolution put forward by Rangers, Hearts and Stranraer appears to be gathering momentum, with Aberdeen joining 
Thistle in confirming that they will vote for it.

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However, the odds remain stacked against it receiving the 75 per cent of votes from each of the Premiership, Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 required to pass it under the SPFL’s regulations.

But Britton feels the strength of feeling over the SPFL’s handling of last month’s vote on their own season-ending resolution could induce them to sanction an investigation regardless of how the numbers stack up at today’s ballot.

“I think if you get anywhere approaching a third of the member clubs voting for it, then the power play for the SPFL, who say they are not a separate entity but are representing the member clubs, will surely be to say ‘OK, let’s do this for the benefit of those clubs’,” said Britton.

“If you have a significant number of clubs backing it, and I’d say a third would be significant, then surely you say ‘bring it on’.

“I would urge people to do the right thing for the good of the game. We want to have a streamlined organisation that has best practice. The league executive should want that as well. They should be able to accept critical evaluation.

“The feedback I am getting is [some] people are scared to come out and call anyone out. They see the consequences and remember what has happened to clubs and individuals through the years who have put their head above the parapet. So it is encouraging to hear that clubs of the standing of Aberdeen are also calling for an investigation. It isn’t about picking sides, or backing one side of the Old Firm against the other, it is because it is the right thing to do. We want our game to survive – if we keep splitting in the manner we are, it is hard to imagine having a cohesive group if we continue to go down the path we are right now.”

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack echoed Britton’s sentiments, insisting an independent investigation is the only course of action which could restore faith in SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal counsel Rod McKenzie whose suspensions have been called for by Rangers.

Cormack said: “We reiterate our belief that an independent inquiry is the only way of drawing a line under what has become a highly damaging episode for the whole of Scottish football.

“There is a distressing lack of confidence and trust between the SPFL leadership and many of the clubs, and it is hard to see a resolution, far less a reconciliation, without some form of impartial and objective assessment of the many claims and counter-claims.

“Some of those involved will be prepared to make information known in confidence through an independent inquiry, which they would not otherwise be willing to 
disclose. The SPFL will be able to provide details of the contractual consequences for the SPFL of different outcomes, which they have felt unable to share with members, and therefore the opportunity to obtain confirmation that their proposal was the only practicable option available.

“Importantly, there will be the opportunity for the SPFL’s chief executive and legal 
advisor to be cleared of the serious allegations that have been made. It is difficult to see how these outcomes could be achieved in a different way.”

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