Our representative on the football club board, John Bell, was one of two Berwick Rangers directors who attended a meeting of SFL clubs in Glasgow on Thursday, January 31st. The purpose of the meeting was to DISCUSS a SPL proposal which had been brought to the Scottish Professsional Game Board ( made up of representatives of the SPL, SFL and SFA ).
The SPL requested that the SFL clubs discuss the proposal in its entirety and not pick and choose bits of it. Concomitant with the proposed league format are the following suggested significant changes to the structure of the professional game including:
i) Bringing all 42 clubs under one governing body with a voting structure generally acceptable to all.
ii) A fairer distribution of finance with the top clubs giving up some of their resources. The ‘middle’ clubs stand to benefit most from this with the ‘lower’ clubs gaining a little.
iii) Abolition of criteria which make it difficult for smaller clubs to progress. In future, ALL clubs in the top two divisions would be required to possess a bronze level UEFA licence. Berwick Rangers already have this licence. There would be NO requirements relating to stadium seating, heated pitches, etc.
The SPL proposal allows for a 12:12:18 league format. In each of the top two divisions, clubs would play each other twice. The 24 teams would then be split into three sections of 8 in which teams would meet each other once:
a) The top 8 in the top division would play for the Championship and European competition places.
b) The middle 8 would straddle the top two divisions. The top four in this group would be in the top flight at the start of the next season; the bottom four in the second tier.
c) From the bottom 8, the leading 5 would remain in the next season’s second tier; the bottom 3 would be relegated to the third tier.
The meeting did consider a 12:12:10:10 structure but there was a general consensus
that teams playing each other four times is not desirable ( clubs in the third tier would play each other twice ) and that it would be better to have the new structure in place for next season, 2013-14, and ‘lose’ one-quarter of the current season–rather than the whole of next season–to meaningless matches.
The oft-mentioned pyramid structure could not be debated until the SFA produces a workable plan which takes into account the views of various regional associations ( e.g. the East of Scotland F.A. ) and the obvious geographical issues. So for the moment, promotion and relegation to and from the lowest league is not being considered. One suggested method of organising promotion FROM the lowest league is for the top two to be automatically promoted to the second tier and the next four to play off for a third promotion spot.
There was general support for the SPL proposal from 28 of the 30 SFL clubs, including Berwick Rangers but NO formal vote was taken.
What do you think? Please e-mail your comments to [email protected] by February 25th. We will collate them and ask our football club representative to pass them on to the football club board.