Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Scottish Premier League vote change delayed


A decision on changes to the Scottish Premier League voting structure has been delayed until April 30.

The 10 non-Old Firm clubs are looking to change the 11-1 voting structure, which favours Celtic and Rangers, to a 9-3 format which could facilitate potentially wide-reaching reforms.

The issue was expected to be discussed at today's SPL general meeting at Hampden but those talks were put on hold until the end of the month.

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour said: "It has been adjourned until April 30.

"We didn't discuss the voting structure at all today, it was just adjourned until the next meeting. Everybody was present today and it was a good, positive meeting."

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston insists the so-called 'Gang of 10' will not back down on their plans to push through the reforms.

Speaking ahead of today's meeting, he said: "We're certainly not giving up on it.

"It remains to be seen what happens with Rangers, who the preferred bidder is going to be.

"Hopefully there will be some constructive talks about the voting structure when that is known.

"I think it's the majority of the clubs who are behind the move to change the voting structure. That remains on the table."

Asked how the 10 clubs intend to push through the changes, when a 11-1 vote is needed to scrap the current voting structure, Johnston said: "Hopefully through gentle persuasion and the fact that we are looking for a more democratic process.

"That should appeal to anyone. I don't think anyone should be worried about having a 75% majority to make major decisions.

"I think it's a perfectly good, sound proposal and there's nothing undemocratic about it.

"It's not going to cause any major worries for anyone who has the best interests of Scottish football in mind."

The vote is now set to take place on the same day that SPL clubs will vote on whether to introduce tougher sanctions for top-flight sides who go into administration or face liquidation.

A range of proposals are set to be considered in relation to financial fair play, with Rangers - who were forced into administration on February 14 - most likely to be affected by any changes.

Meanwhile, the main item on the agenda at today's meeting was the introduction of an Under 20 League from season 2012/13, which was unanimously approved by the SPL clubs, and forms an important part of Scottish Football Association performance director Mark Wotte's review of the Elite Player Pathway.

All SPL clubs will participate in the Under-20 League and the SPL board may also permit a club or clubs in the SFL to participate.

Neil Doncaster, SPL chief executive, said: "Providing the right platform for developing young Scottish players is vital for the whole of Scottish football and I am delighted to announce the introduction of an Under-20 League from next season.

"Working in conjunction with the Scottish FA, I would hope this goes someway to reducing the development gap between the current Under 19 League and the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to better equip young players for the demands of first team football and aiding the development of more and better young Scottish players for the Scotland national team."

Wotte said: "I am delighted at the decision of the SPL clubs today to approve the introduction of the Under-20 League.

"This is a fundamental part of the Scottish FA's Performance Strategy and it will be vital in bridging the gap between the current under-19s and the first-team squads.

"I am hugely encouraged by the positive discussions that have taken place between the SPL and the Scottish FA and, in particular, the support of the clubs' Heads of Youth and chairmen during the period of consultation."

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "Today's decision is a major step forward in the football bodies working together in the best interests of the game. Mark Wotte has identified the Under-20 League as a key driver of the Performance Strategy and I am delighted the clubs share his vision."