Football: Scottish elite stand firm on change

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The Independent Online
SCOTLAND'S Super League clubs, with the exception of Celtic, stood firm yesterday in voting against the Scottish League's proposal for a 14-12-12 set-up next season, denying the League the two-thirds' majority required for change.

The voting totalled 47 for change and 39 against, 10 votes short of the necessary majority. But although the ballot was a secret one, simple arithmetic suggests the nine Super League clubs stayed true to their intention of voting against the proposal and were probably joined by First Division Dunfermline, a Super League member and one Second Division club of unknown identity.

Despite an apparent vote for the status quo, change in the Scottish game is inevitable whether through co-operation or confrontation, with the inescapable conclusion being that yesterday's decision represents the start of something and not an ending, with both sides indicating a desire to begin new discussions.

Peter Donald, the secretary of the Scottish League, conceded it is possible, although 'unlikely', that another special meeting before the end of the season could bring about change starting in August.

He did, however, reveal a perceived softening of attitudes towards negotiation with informal talk after the vote centring around four leagues of 10 clubs. Nevertheless he sounded a warning to the Super League clubs, saying: 'The Scottish Football League will not sit down with an unrecognised body and there is no room for a Super League within the Scottish Football League.' On a more hopeful note he added: 'Something positive must happen in the next few months and you won't find the Scottish Football League lacking in endeavours to find a solution.'

For their part the Super League clubs refused to treat the result as a victory, merely the disposing of an unwanted idea. After eight months of talk about a Super League the idea is far from buried. Informal talks appear to offer the best prospect of success, with every reason to hope that a solution can be found within the stewardship of the Scottish League.

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