Football: Scottish top 10 to reject new proposal

Scotland's top 10 clubs yesterday confirmed that they will reject an extraordinary proposal from the First Division teams in the on-going debate about a new Premiership. It is understood the First Division sides, who met at St Mirren's Love Street ground on Monday, will be pressing for an immediate top flight of 12 clubs from next season before they give their blessing to the breakaway.

Not only that, they are apparently seeking compensation of a minimum pounds 2.5m each year for the next 20 years to be paid to the Scottish League, a sum equivalent to pounds 50m.

The Premier Division clubs met in Edinburgh yesterday and are furious at the First Division clubs' stance. Their spokesman Lex Gold, the Hibernian chairman, said: "We have not received an offer from the lower division clubs. But if the reports in today's media are accurate then I can tell you that any such offer will be immediately rejected.

"Our position remains unchanged. Our offer is off the table and we are driving forward together towards establishing a new league following the end of this season." The First Division clubs will now present the package to the Second and Third Divisions before embarking on talks with the Premier Division clubs.

The top teams want a new league of 10 clubs to start with. They have already threatened a closed shop as they have been infuriated at the resistance of clubs outside the top flight.

Gold said: "We are formulating the rules and constitution for the new league for discussion with the Scottish Football Association and have set up working groups on football and other matters. In addition we are continuing to progress discussions with broadcasters and sponsors for the new league."

The Celtic midfield player Morten Wieghorst has decided to take a leaf out of David Beckham's book and keep his thoughts about referees to himself in future. Wieghorst admits his desire to stay part of Wim Jansen's first- team plans has meant his discipline has dropped. After collecting eight bookings this term the normally mild-mannered midfielder was given a two- match ban last month.

"The last thing you want when the team is challenging for trophies is to sit games out," he said. "I have picked up a few more bookings than I would want this season, but while my game has always been aggressive it is something I must watch. I have been so keen to keep on doing well and stay in the team that I have picked up silly cautions. I have now made a conscious decision, like David Beckham did at Manchester United, to keep my mouth shut."

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