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Plan for new Scotland leagues format fails

Sweeping plans to restructure the SPL have been vetoed by St Mirren and Ross County, plunging the league into further uncertainty.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne emerged from discussions to announce that St Mirren had not been swayed after confirming earlier in the week they would vote against the deal on the table.

With Ross County’s negative vote the 11-1 majority needed was effectively snuffed out the proposals which were agreed in principle in January.

The plans would have seen a new 12-12-18 league model under one body with the SPL and Scottish Football League to merge, as opposed to the old 12-10-10-10 system still in place for next season.

A positive vote was needed from 11 SPL clubs for the proposal to escalate to a vote between the 30 SFL clubs on Friday.

The concept would have also seen the top two leagues split into three divisions of eight midway through the season and a redistribution of wealth to lower-league clubs.

Milne slammed St Mirren, who he said were deliberately and defiantly stagnating the potential growth of Scottish football for reasons unknown.

“What was on the table for everyone to consider today was back the plan, an opportunity to move Scottish football forward,” Milne said.

“If it doesn’t deliver to the extent that 10 clubs genuinely believe it will deliver, then the opportunity is there to re-look at it down the line within two to three years.

“It’s the status quo. The offer of changing the reconstruction rules was rejected by the two clubs, which no one can see the logic behind.”

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster lamented the missed opportunity and sympathised with the lower-league clubs, many of whom would have benefited from the redistribution of funds given their increasingly precarious financial positions.

“There’s a real sense of disappointment because these proposals would have delivered so many of the things that supporters say they want; a merged league; a better distribution of money down the leagues, a pyramid structure – they’ve now been lost,” Doncaster said.

“The clubs have been very clear over recent weeks that a 16-team league is not financially affordable.

“Whilst it may be what a number of people say they want, the clubs who have to vote on these changes have made it clear that they can’t afford that change.”

Mon 15 April, 2013
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