NEIL Doncaster, the chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League, will meet the Lowland League board on Monday to discuss potential changes to the pyramid system in the aftermath of today’s vote on ending the lower league season early. 

The likelihood of that latter outcome being reached appeared to increase last night following the publication of a statement from the SFA and SPFL joint response group 

which “unanimously agreed to extend the suspension at all levels of the game from professional to recreational until at least June 10”. 

With Hearts, Rangers, Par-tick Thistle and Falkirk among a number of clubs expressing their opposition to the proposal and no guarantee of a vote passing, the statement set the tone for an announcement by the SPFL board later this evening aimed at resolving the impasse in Scottish football. 

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers will be promoted from the Championship, League 1 and League 2 respectively should a 75% majority of clubs agree to the plan which 

will in turn trigger payments to a number of clubs struggling to make ends meet. The decision to call early would likely act as a precedent in the Premiership, in which case Celtic would be declared champions and Hearts would be relegated. 

Just as controversially, Thistle and Stranraer will be relegated from the Championship and League 1 while Brechin City, whose chairman Ken Ferguson sits on a number of SPFL boards, will be spared the threat of relegation, with the League 2 play-off set to be cancelled as part of the proposal, which has also promised to look at reconstruction ahead of next season. 

It has prompted calls from the Lowland and Highland Leagues to open the SPFL to radical reconstruction involving their clubs. High on the agenda at Monday’s meeting will be a discussion with Doncaster around the potential for opening up the pyramid to a straightforward entry for clubs from the Lowland League, whose chairman George Fraser yesterday called on the SPFL to seize the opportunity for substantive change. 

“We hope to gain further clarification on Monday regarding our standing within the pyramid following the conclusion of the SPFL vote,” said Fraser. “They will never ever become a trifling have a better chance to reconstruct Scottish football than of a global pandemic. It won’t now. They will never get this opportunity again – certainly not in these circumstances. Everything is in a state of flux, everything is all over the place. They should do it now. 

“Now is the time. There are teams such as Partick Thistle who don’t want to be relegated. You could reconstruct the leagues to save them. Take an extra two teams in from the Lowland and the Highland and everyone is happy.” 

The Lowland League hopes to launch a new West of Scotland league next season with 68 clubs vying for a place in the structure. Fraser says he is keen to revamp the pyramid and create a truer promotion and relegation structure which would be aided by this new league but he says the SPFL would be required to play its part, too. 

“It’s not a proper pyramid at the minute as it stands because there is no automatic promotion and relegation. The argument our clubs have always had is that we can’t lose clubs at the bottom if we aren’t getting the opportunity at the top. Somebody has got to make the first move.” 

Fraser’s call echoed sentiments expressed by the Highland League secretary Rod Houston. His league declared Brora Rangers champions on March 21 and Houston issued a statement earlier this week ex- pressing dismay at the decision to deny the club the chance to progress up the pyramid. 

“There is disappointment that the [SPFL] proposals include cancellation of the play-offs, an integral part of the Scottish football pyramid,” the statement read. “The Highland League’s continued and acknowledged contribution to the development of the Scottish Football Pyramid would appear to be set aside in the search for a solution to the conundrums facing the SPFL.

“The proposal to deny Brora that opportunity for progression is disappointing and, doubtless, there will be similar feelings among members of the Lowland League. The Highland League does acknowledge that the SPFL proposal carries a reference to some form of restructuring for season 2020/21. Be it some form of play-off or some form of re- structuring which allows for a small increase in SPFL membership, the credibility of the Scottish football pyramid can but be enhanced.”