SFL clubs urged to accept proposals

SPL chairman Ralph Topping claims SFL clubs would need their heads tested if they reject top-flight proposals to reform the game.

Last Updated: 20/05/13 at 18:24 Post Comment

The SPL and SFL remain in negotiation about the game

The SPL and SFL remain in negotiation about the game

Scottish Premier League chairman Ralph Topping claims Scottish Football League clubs would need their heads tested if they reject top-flight proposals to reform the game.

The 12 SPL clubs reaffirmed their unanimous backing for plans to merge the two league bodies and introduce play-offs between the top two divisions.

However, they rejected amendments on wealth distribution and governance which the 30 Scottish Football League clubs fully backed last week.

The SPL is set to proceed to a written resolution and hold a vote in the next seven to 10 days before putting the ball in the SFL's court.

The SFL asked for a change to the distribution model which would have spread money from the second tier to the bottom two divisions, but the SPL clubs want to focus wealth redistribution into the current First Division in order to create a softer landing for relegated clubs.

Topping said: "I take a perspective that says you'd have to have your head looked at to turn down extra money, wouldn't you?

"You would really have to consider where is the SFL going to generate the funding we are providing for the professional game? Where is that going to come from?

"Where is the management of the SFL going to generate that funding?

"The SPL have said we will provide financial help to these professional clubs to stop that situation happening."

When asked about the lower-league clubs' desire for a more equitable share of central income, Topping said: "We discussed that at length.

"We should be looking for a single league body and we should be looking forward to generating cash for the game.

"That's the focus of the SPL and something we believe can be delivered for next season, should be delivered for next season and must be delivered for next season.

"And any attempt to delay developments until the next season, I don't think it's good for the game in Scotland, and people who might look at it that way, I think need to go away and stick their head in an ice bucket and think again."

Topping stressed that the main issue was to prevent the financial crises that have struck clubs who were relegated from the top flight.

Dunfermline went into administration this season after dropping out of the SPL and ended up suffering consecutive relegations after a points deduction.

Speaking about the SPL proposals, Topping said: "There are lots of positives there, including a desire to look after the professional game in Scotland and ensure the professional game is properly funded, and we don't have the situation where clubs disappear into SFL Division One at the moment and face hardship for a considerable period of time and they are not able in a competitive sense to bounce back.

"That is not good for Scottish football. That leads to problems in local communities because a lot of people get laid off and it isn't good for the psychology of football to see that happen."

The SFL clubs are next due to meet on Thursday afternoon for the organisation's annual general meeting.

The tweak in governance they were proposing for the new merged body was that one club from each of the bottom three divisions should be represented on the board along with three top-flight clubs.

But the SPL wants two second-tier clubs and one lower-league club to join the top-division representatives.


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