SPFL board set to discuss bid for ‘express power’ in Covid-19 crisis

Clubs have not provided sufficient support following initial request 
it is believed
It is understood that fewer than the required 75 per cent of clubs returned a positive response to SPFL’s Hampden HQ. Picture: SNS.It is understood that fewer than the required 75 per cent of clubs returned a positive response to SPFL’s Hampden HQ. Picture: SNS.
It is understood that fewer than the required 75 per cent of clubs returned a positive response to SPFL’s Hampden HQ. Picture: SNS.

The first meeting of the new board of the Scottish Professional Football League will discuss the next step in its attempt to gain “express power” to deal with any coronavirus-related disruption to the new season.

The SPFL has yet to confirm the outcome of its request to clubs, issued on 22 June, to indicate support for a resolution which would allow the board to make such decisions without having to call a vote of all 42 members.

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The move from the SPFL executive was in response to the controversy and acrimony which surrounded the voting process and curtailment of the 2019-20 campaign, including the relegations of Hearts and Partick Thistle, the validity of which is currently being determined by an independent Scottish FA tribunal.

Clubs had until midnight on Monday to inform the SPFL whether they would support a resolution which would “give your board the authority to make decisions in relation to season 2020-21 in the event Covid-19 causes disruption”, including calling time on the campaign and cancelling play-offs.

If clubs did not agree with such a resolution, they did not have to provide a response.

It is believed that the responses provided did not constitute sufficient support to achieve the 75 per cent majority in favour required from each of the Premiership, Championship and combination of Leagues 1 and 2 to pass a 

The newly-constituted SPFL board, elected at the organisation’s annual general meeting on Monday, will consider the issue at its first meeting which is expected to take place before the new Premiership season kicks off on 1 August.

Chairman Murdoch MacLennan, chief executive Neil Doncaster and independent non-executive director Karyn McCluskey are now joined on the board by Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell who has replaced Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson, a leading critic of how the SPFL handled the ending of last season.

St Johnstone chairman Steve Brown was also elected to the board on Monday, replacing Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows who, like Robertson, opted not to put himself forward for re-election. Hamilton vice-chairman Les Gray, who robustly defended the SPFL’s conduct throughout the pandemic-imposed shutdown, remains on the board as the third Premiership

The board is completed by the Championship duo of Dunfermline chairman Ross McArthur and Alloa secretary Ewen Cameron, who held off the rival candidacy of Inverness Caledonian Thistle chairman Ross Morrison, and Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson who will alternate with Clyde vice-chairman Gordon Thomson as the representative for League 1 and 2 clubs.

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