As clubs vote on relegation...
Rangers make demand for ‘urgent’ SPFL prize money
Reality: Neil Doncaster
Rangers are to front a bid to have the SPFL release prize money to all 42 clubs in Scotland as a matter of urgency.
The move came as it became clear the authorities may settle this season’s promotion and relegation issues outwith the Premiership by a vote, a prospect the Ibrox club described as “abhorrent”.
The SPFL has circulated a written resolution to its 42 member clubs recommending they approve the immediate termination of the current Championship, League 1 and League 2 without the remaining fixtures in the League being played.
This would see all play-off competitions cancelled and final season placings determined by the number of points per game earned by each club in the matches they have played.
That scenario would see Dundee United promoted to the Premiership, with Partick Thistle relegated to League 1 and Raith Rovers replacing the Jags in the Championship. Stranraer would fall into League 2 with Cove Rangers making the step up.
Clubs have until Friday at 5pm to vote with 75% approval required.
The resolution also recommends that matches in the Premiership remain postponed for the time being, to give the best possible opportunity for the remaining fixtures to be played.
However, if the SPFL board rules that the remaining Premiership matches cannot be played, the Premiership would also be terminated, with final season placings determined on the same basis.
That would see Celtic crowned as champions and Hearts relegated. However, to complicate the picture further, if the resolution is approved the SPFL has committed to consulting with clubs over the possibility of league restructuring ahead of season 2020/21.
Rangers responded by saying: “For the avoidance of doubt, Rangers firmly believe that the 2019/20 season is only complete when all 38 games have been played to a finish.
“Nevertheless, we are conscious of the ongoing financial hardships faced by many clubs within the Scottish game.
“Many clubs urgently require financial support to maintain cash flow and allow them to survive this current impasse so they can return to normal business when the current government lockdown is relaxed.
“It is important to recognise that these clubs across all the leagues are now in a financially precarious situation. Rangers will immediately propose a member’s resolution which would release prize money to be distributed to all clubs throughout Scotland urgently.”
Their statement added: “Any restructure of the SPFL or other solutions to the current impasse must be afforded time to scrutinise in detail and consider all options.
Scottish football must work together for the common good of every club, their staff and supporters– Rangers
“The consequences of forcing through change without due care and attention will have severe consequences for the Scottish game.
“Scottish football must work together for the common good of every club, their staff and supporters. We must allow decisions to be made in a rational, fair and balanced manner.”
Speaking of the SPFL resolution, chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “As a board, we have consulted extensively with clubs in all four divisions since football was suspended on 13th March and have taken expert legal and commercial advice.
“Now is the right time to act. Very regrettably, we must face the reality that it’s simply not possible for the remaining Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 fixtures to remain postponed without causing significant further financial harm to clubs in those divisions. Further, many of our clubs are experiencing very challenging organisational and financial circumstances.
“Everyone in our game and in the country generally, is wrestling with the devastating impact of Covid-19.
“They all know there are no easy answers or simple solutions, but the board’s recommended proposal will give us a far greater degree of certainty, minimise the harm to the game overall, and enable us make end-of-season fee payments now to Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs.”
SPFL Chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “We have recommended a way forward which we firmly believe enables the best possible outcome for Scottish football in these very demanding and unique circumstances.”