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SBD Global/April 16, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

St. Mirren, Ross County Veto Scottish Premier League Reconstruction Plan

Scottish football's reconstruction plans look remote after two clubs shoot down the plan.

Plans to restructure Scottish football "looked dead" on Monday after Scottish Premier League clubs St. Mirren and Ross County "vetoed the proposals at a Scottish Premier League meeting," according to Stephen Halliday of the SCOTSMAN. SPL club Aberdeen Chair Stewart Milne "emerged from the talks to announce that they had failed to secure the 11-1 majority needed to send the plans to the Scottish Football League." St. Mirren had confirmed seven days earlier it was going to vote against the deal on the table, which was agreed in principle in January. Ross County Chair Roy MacGregor had earlier expressed a willingness to compromise and said, "I don't see why we can't take the good bits from the proposals." The problem with that plan "appears to be that most SPL clubs believe the post-split middle-eight league will generate the extra TV money to distribute among current First Division clubs." A replacement for sponsors Clydesdale Bank, whose deal ends in the summer, "may also have been lined up on the basis of the new structure" (SCOTSMAN, 4/15).

BLAME GAME: STV reported Milne "laid responsibility for the decision with St. Mirren." Milne: "One club in particular you would need to ask just exactly what their agenda is -- St. Mirren. What was on the table for everyone to consider today was back the plan, an opportunity to move Scottish football forward ... 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" (STV, 4/15). The BBC reported Milne has accused the two clubs of "putting Scottish football in jeopardy." In addition to the new league structure, "the plan envisaged one league body to replace the SPL and SFL." A statement on behalf of the SPL board expressed its "deep disappointment" that three years of "tireless work" had been "blocked." SPL club Heart of Midlothian CEO David Southern "accused St. Mirren of not being frank in public" over its reasons for opposing the plan. Southern: "I think it's been shown today that the 11-1 vote was just used as a smokescreen to protect other people's interests" (BBC, 4/15). EUROSPORT reported Scottish football "has suffered from falling crowd numbers and a drop in sponsorship and broadcasting revenue over recent years, and the new restructuring plan was designed to bring some excitement and new corporate and revenue opportunities back to the game" (EUROSPORT, 4/15).

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