Scottish clubs reject idea of probe into canceling of season
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Scottish clubs on Tuesday voted to reject a resolution calling for an independent investigation into the decision to end the season for leagues below the top-tier Premiership because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The resolution, initially proposed by Rangers and backed by two other teams, was supported by 13 of the 40 clubs who voted. It required at least 75% of votes from each of the Premiership, the second-tier Championship, and the third and fourth tiers combined.
The Scottish Professional Football League brought the season to a halt in the lower leagues in controversial manner last month following a much-criticized vote that plunged the Scottish game into acrimony. Final placings were determined by the average points per game of each club.
What proved to be the decisive vote, by second-tier Dundee, apparently did not reach the SPFL by an agreed deadline. Dundee was given extra time to make its decision and changed its vote, resulting in the cancellation of the leagues and ensuring end-of-season payments could be sent to clubs in the three lower divisions.
Rangers was among the clubs to strongly oppose the SPFL proposal. As was Hearts, which stands to be relegated from the Premiership if it is curtailed.
“It is clear that many members have lost confidence in the SPFL leadership and the need for change will not diminish,” Rangers said in a statement.
“The status quo cannot hold.”
Rangers said it appreciated the support of clubs who backed the resolution “and recognize your desire for increased accountability at the top of our national sport.”
SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan urged unhappy clubs to move on, while promising to address their concerns at a later date.
“The last few weeks have been bruising ones for many people in our game,” he said. “Far too many words have been spoken and written which have sown anger and division amongst clubs. That is a matter of the deepest regret to very many people in our game, myself included.
“I know those who proposed this resolution will be disappointed, but I trust that everyone involved, on both sides of this argument, will now respect the clear, democratic and decisive result we have seen today and allow our game to move forward together.”
Celtic, which leads the Premiership by 13 points, welcomed the result of the vote and declared the club was satisfied there was “no evidence of any wrongdoing by the board or executive.”
“All of our energies,” Celtic said, “should be applied to planning for the return of the game in season 2020-21 and to the financial survival of all our clubs.”