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Football: Marr defends actions of Scotland's `gang of four'

Peter Marr, the Dundee chief executive, yesterday defended the decision of four leading Scottish First Division clubs to hold secret discussions with the Premier Division sides in an attempt to solve the breakaway row.

The four clubs - Raith Rovers, Dundee, St Mirren and Airdrie - have been called "loose cannons" by other First Division chairmen after Marr revealed the attempts of the group to persuade the Premier Division clubs not to push ahead with plans for an exclusive 10-team league for next season.

Marr insisted guarantees are in place to ensure promotion and relegation continues between the two leagues, with an expansion of the top league to at least 12 clubs from the year 2000.

"We have guarantees from the Premier League that they won't be taking the action they have been talking about in closing up the league," Marr said. He also added that it was "probable" that the present one-up, one- down promotion and relegation would be retained, with the play-offs being scrapped.

Marr urged his fellow lower league clubs to support the new proposals when a vote is taken at today's League Management Committee meeting.