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SBD Global/March 14, 2013/International Football

Scottish Football's 12-12-18 Reconstruction Plan Threatening To 'Collapse Into Farce'

The plan to reconstruct Scottish football in time for next season "was threatening to collapse into farce" Tuesday night, according to Jackson & Keevins of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. At least two Scottish Premier League clubs "are on the verge" of voting no to the proposals for a 12-12-18 set-up -- and "strangling it at birth." However, to "further complicate matters the top-flight clubs might abandon plans to go to the polls" on April 15 because their Scottish Football League counterparts are "reluctant to be first to have an official show of hands." It is now "increasingly difficult to imagine how any agreement can be brokered amid such widespread confusion and so many different factions" (DAILY RECORD, 3/13). STV reported SFL CEO David Longmuir has "conceded league reconstruction might not be pushed through in time for next season." Longmuir said it is important the country's 42 senior clubs "get this right." On Tuesday, Longmuir sent a proposal to SFL sides "outlining the case for an alternative 12-12-10-10 setup," including the introduction of Celtic and Rangers "colt" teams into the bottom tier. The SFL has not decided when its final vote on league reconstruction will take place, although "an April date is being considered" (STV, 3/13).

COLT QUANDARY: In Glasgow, Gordon Waddell reported Longmuir wants to see colt teams "introduced at the expense of smaller clubs from day one." He feels their inclusion would "future-proof" the Scottish game against the big two departing for a regional or European League, "at least leaving part of their brand alive at home and preserving the commercial benefits they bring." He has given clubs until Friday to respond, but many within the SFL "are baffled by the move and believe their chief executive is putting Rangers’ desires in particular ahead of the wishes of the other 29." Longmuir said: "The Colt team issue has been discussed over many years. The basic premise is that the largest clubs have the ability, and fan base, to create a second team which would compete as an independent entity in the lower leagues" (DAILY RECORD, 3/13).

PUSHING BACK:
In Edinburgh, Gavin McCafferty reported Scottish First Division Falkirk Chair Martin Ritchie has "accused Longmuir of acting 'irresponsibly' by proposing Old Firm 'colt' teams join a new league set-up." Ritchie feels that "they should focus on the plans in hand rather than creating fresh controversy." Ritchie said, "The problem I have with it, I think at this stage it’s just a total distraction from the key issue that everybody is discussing, which is reconstruction. It’s going to divide the clubs, and it’s going to divide the supporters and to introduce it at this stage of the reconstruction debate, I think it’s irresponsible (SCOTSMAN, 3/13).
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