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League reform: why the SFL must take control of Scottish football

HeraldScotland reader ROBERT SHAW says it's time for the 'greedy' SPL to be elbowed aside in the reconstruction debate

I believe that David Longmuir, chief executive of the SFL, holds all the aces in reconstruction.

He and the clubs he represents should not be pandering, and selling out to, the SPL. The SPL are a 'burst ball' which - let's face it - has never really worked.

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The way I see it, for our football to survive three things must happen: the SFL must take control of Scottish Football, the SPL clubs must lose their greed and, most importantly, the wishes of the supporter must be met.

The Rangers situation has merely sharpened the focus and highlighted the need for change. All clubs need to live within their means and employ predominantly home-based players at wages that can be afforded.

Anyone following developments closely will have worked out that Mr Longmuir is playing both sides of the fence. The SPL will ultimately make him the scapegoat and, probably worse, SFL personnel who know best how to manage and run football will be shoved aside by the SPL personnel - who will assume control and condemn our game forever.

Supporters want a bigger top league, with teams playing each other twice in perhaps a 16-10-16 structure. This structure would bring a reduced amount of revenue to the SPL clubs, and that’s the one and only reason the SPL would resist it.

However, additional games to help generate income for top division teams could come from a reconstructed league or Scottish cup - where teams are seeded and play in group format - like the World Cup format of old.

Bottom of the top tier would be relegated, and top of the 2nd Division would be promoted. The 12th to 15th teams of the top tier would see 'play-offs' against the 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams in the 2nd Division.

There would be a similar promotion from the 3rd Division, with perhaps only two 'play-off' places. Surely this means plenty of meaningful games for all?

So, why not take the pain for a few years? Why not better distribute what money there is down through the leagues to help develop players, who in turn can be sold on to the bigger clubs in Scotland and elsewhere?

The answer? Greed gets in the way.

The SPL are trying to bribe the SFL chairmen to sign up now for short term cash. Any consequence will ultimately be at the expense of the lower league teams.

The 12-12-18 being proposed is doomed to fail before it even begins. It's just 'Greed, Greed, Greed' for money and control by the SPL - an organisation that has failed.

Can we not for once do the right thing? Reconstruct with a 16-team top league, and change rules for the good of our game –e.g. at least seven Scottish Players in every team’s starting XI.

The SFL has looked after clubs and Scottish football for years. I see it as no coincidence that since the inception of the SPL, support levels have dwindled, and our national team has qualified for nothing.

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