It is wrong to place the game in such a "hostage" situation and create an uncertain financial state because one club has been terminated. It is also wrong and dangerous to create insecurity for the other clubs because of hypothetical financial scenarios that may or may not happen. Public statements indicating "preference" for one club do not assist anyone, despite the honourable intentions of the speaker.
The prudent approach, for all concerned, would be to create, without any further delays [and without public statements], a system which would ensure that all clubs are able to survive in the long run.
With this in mind, we have created several proposals that would sustain not only an intense sporting competition in all divisions, but, most importantly, they would create an attractive product that could be marketed globally and which would enable negotiations for a broadcasting agreement that would correspond to its true value. This is possible because the power of Scottish football derives from its fans.
We suggested the increase of the SPL to 18 teams. The additional six teams would join from the first division. The remaining four teams in that league would be joined by the 20 teams of the second and third divisions. These 24 teams would create one division below the SPL.
These 24 teams could be divided into two groups, for example, the Northern Scottish League [NSL] and the Southern Scottish League [SSL]. At the end of each season, the top teams from both groups could have a play-off tournament, with the winner(s) joining the SPL.
Such proposals were presented to the Scottish Football Association a few weeks ago, but we received no response. We hope they will be considered in the immediate future.
There is clearly an urgent need for a complete revision of the regulatory framework. The current situation has made the rules governing Scottish football appear as a relic, with several parts missing and the authorities covering or replacing such parts as they go along. This is not always right and leads to erroneous decisions, not because the rule-maker is unfair, but because he has not been in the position to predict all the consequences of the creation of his rules.
Take, for example, the imminent decision on the issue of "Club 12". The "silent" result of the rules is now raising legal and moral arguments for the clubs with a perceived legal interest. Without pre-empting any decision on the matter, it is likely the authorities, or their judicial committees, would have to labour under great difficulty in interpreting the intention of the rule-maker and seek the assistance of FIFA and UEFA.
Whatever the result of such decision-making, rules must be followed and where necessary, they must be applied purposefully and not pedantically.
In the situation where new rules need to be created, such rules must observe the rights of the individual clubs and ensure that benefits could be distributed equally. Above all, the football authorities must ensure that any changes would not be the result of a desire to accommodate one club over another.
Punishment for breaking the rules must fit the crime. The integrity of the competition solely depends on the fairness of the rules that govern it. In other words, all clubs are equal and must be treated accordingly.
n Dr Gregory Ioannidis is a senior lecturer in sports law at the University of Buckingham and a practising advocate with 12 years' experience in sports law litigation. He is head of sports law at CGV & Co LLC and he appears regularly before the Court of Arbitration for Sport and FIFA's players' status committee and dispute resolution chamber.