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SFL proposal presentation will still leave plans in infancy

Scottish Football League clubs will not hold a vote when they meet next week to discuss league reconstruction plans drawn up in conjunction with the Scottish Premier League.

David Longmuir
David Longmuir

The get-together of all 30 clubs will discuss the proposals for a 12-12-18 set- up, which includes a unified league body, but Herald Sport understands that there are no plans to formally register approval or disapproval for the proposals at the meeting on Thursday, January 31.

A majority of clubs must vote in favour of the plans for them to be introduced in time for next season, with an 11-1 result required among SPL teams and 22 out of 29 in favour among SFL clubs, since Rangers are only associate members of the league and so do not have a vote.

David Longmuir, the SFL chief executive, agreed to present the proposals to his members following talks with the SPL earlier this month, and information on all aspects of the plans has been circulated to the clubs, but they are still some way from being adopted.

Stewart Gilmour, the St Mirren chairman, and his counterpart at Dundee United, Stephen Thompson, have both suggested that they have yet to make a decision either way. The SPL clubs have only unanimously agreed to consider the 12-12-18 plans themselves, and Rangers have subsequently backed a move to a 14-14-14 structure, even though the SFL clubs had agreed to back a 16-10-16 set-up. Amid the uncertainty, it cannot be taken for granted that reconstruction plans will be agreed for next season.

The SFL board has not yet made a recommendation to its clubs, although the initial plans would result in most SFL teams receiving higher income, while the leading Irn-Bru First Division clubs would, in a 12-12-18 set-up, be involved in the Championship play-off with top-flight teams next season.

Questions remain about the governance of a new league – likely to be called the Scottish Professional Football League – as well as voting rights for member clubs, how the decision-making process will work, how the current broadcast contract with Sky Sports and sponsorship deals will be affected, for all leagues, and who will run the new organisation. Some SFL clubs are thought to be wary of essentially signing up to be part of a re-branded and extended SPL organisation.

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