SPL clubs 'would not find required majority vote' against split

THE Scottish Premier League split would not be scrapped if it came to a vote, as it emerged that at least four clubs would back the status quo.

• Neil Doncaster admitted that one of the reasons for Rangers' post-split fixture list was to avoid them clinching the SPL title at Celtic Park.

Any change would require an 11-1 majority of the 12 SPL clubs.

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Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster said that he was open to the prospect of change, after several clubs complained that this season's post-split fixtures had been unfair to them.

"If there is an opportunity to change the current system for the better then I think it's important we grab it," said Doncaster.

"I think there's a general view from many supporters that the whole SPL is very slightly stale and in need of some refreshment. I buy into that. I'm with those who question the way the split works."

Despite Doncaster's reservations over the current league structure, BBC Scotland found that four out of six respondents would vote in favour of keeping the split, when they canvassed all 12 clubs.

The current system has been in place since 2001. After 33 games the division is split into two halves, and clubs play a further five matches, against the teams in their half of the division, taking their total to 38 games.

League leaders Rangers are the latest club to call for the split to be scrapped. Manager Walter Smith said yesterday that it was unfair that his team are faced with three away matches in succession.

"I think everybody has a grievance," said Smith. "We were told three years ago that we would never again have three away games in a row, and now we've got them ... which I don't think is right for any club at any time, regardless of whatever excuses you make for the split. You may have to play three games away and two games at home, but surely not three games away in a row. I think it is ridiculous that we have been asked to do that."

Motherwell are also unhappy at the outcome of the post-split fixture list, as it means they will lose out on a home match and the resultant ticket revenue.

Manager Craig Brown said: "I've got high regard for the SPL administration and I don't think for one minute there is any malice in their mind when they make the fixtures but, when you analyse them, I think any fair-minded person would concede Motherwell have had a bit of a raw deal."

St Mirren, who are faced with a third away trip against fellow relegation battlers Falkirk, are the other team to have voiced their grievances.