Ibrox in firing line
Doncaster blasts Rangers’ claims as ‘unacceptable’
Uncomfortable: Neil Doncaster (pic: SNS Group)
Under-fire SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster says the allegations made against him by Rangers are “unacceptable”.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the Glasgow club called for his suspension and that of legal counsel Rod McKenzie following the controversial season-ending vote, Doncaster launched a strong defence of his actions.
The Glasgow club has yet to produce what it describes as a “dossier” of evidence which proves impropriety in the way Dundee were allowed to change their decisive “no” vote to a “yes”.
However, Doncaster stated his case for the defence after an internal investigation by Deloitte cleared the league’s governing body of any wrongdoing in the matter.
His comments came following SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan’s open letter urging clubs to throw out Rangers’ call for an external probe into the vote – it will go to a ballot of all 42 club on 12 May.
“There are areas where we could have done things better and they are referred to in Murdoch’s letter,” said Doncaster. “But that’s a whole different ball game from suggestions there has been inappropriate behaviour and calling for people to be suspended.
“For that to happen without a shred of evidence being produced, I find unacceptable. It’s incumbent on them to bring forward what it is they are alleging – who did what, where, when and let those claims be examined by the appropriate people on the SPFL board.
It’s incumbent on them to bring forward what it is they are alleging – who did what, where, when and let those claims be examined by the appropriate people on the SPFL board.– Neil Doncaster, SPFL
“No-one has suggested to me or any member of my staff that I bullied anyone. I would hope that anyone who knows the way I’ve operated over the 10 years I’ve been in Scotland would know that I deal with all member clubs with respect at all times.
“I may not agree or share their views but I would hope that in every instance, I have been respectful towards every chief executive or chairman.
“So if people feel that me, Rod McKenzie or any member of the SPFL staff has bullied anyone, then they have a duty to come forward and report it to the SPFL chairman and board.”
He added: “Anyone who tells you that it’s a comfortable position to be in when you are being accused, and your suspension called for, without a shred of evidence, is probably not telling the truth.
“It’s been very uncomfortable for myself, Rod McKenzie and the staff of the SPFL. I have total trust in the integrity of my small team. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when the independent and forensic investigation by Deloitte found absolutely no evidence of any inappropriate behaviour by any SPFL staff whatsoever.
“You can always look back and see if you could have done anything better or differently. Just like any organisation who has had a difficult time throughout the Covid-19 crisis – the same goes for politicians – we can look back and see if we could have done anything better.”
Doncaster and MacLennan going public appears part of a concerted effort by the league to try to move the focus away from the vote.
The pair aired their views after an open letter to all 42 clubs signed by six of the seven board members which outlined the financial implications of an independent investigation into the matter.
The vote allowed the lower leagues to be called as they stood and presented the SPFL with the power to finish the current Premiership season early, a decision which has yet to be taken.
The SPFL, meanwhile, along with the likes of Scottish Rugby, are due to meet the Scottish government on Tuesday to look into how major sporting events may eventually return to the calendar.