SPL asks clubs to back 'radical' plans to revive Scottish game

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The Independent Football

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster has urged clubs to put their own interests to one side and embrace plans for radical change for the sake of the whole of Scottish football. Proposals for a two-tier SPL, with 10 teams in each division, will be put to all 12 top-flight clubs next Monday following eight months of meetings by a strategic review group.

The plans include a 36-match league season and the removal of the controversial league split. An earlier start to the season, coupled with a winter break, could also be introduced.

But Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir has branded suggestions of an SPL One and Two as "well wide of the mark", while calling the possibility of regionalisation below the two-tier SPL a "non-starter".

Speaking of Monday's meeting, Doncaster said: "If we get approval in principle then that enables us to then talk in detail with the SFL and all its clubs.

"Unusually for any discussion within the football industry, we have had people who have been brave enough to think about the whole of Scottish football and not just their own vested interest. There will be nothing imposed on anyone. Indeed, we don't have the ability to do so. So anything that we have in mind will be on the basis of proper consultation with everyone and, if there is an invitation to SFL clubs to come on board, they will have to make up their own mind if it is in their best interests or not."

Doncaster believes the "radical" plans for reconstruction are necessary to help clubs financially as well as eradicating staleness in the Scottish game.

He told BBC Scotland: "I don't think you could have a set of plans more radical than this. Everyone participating in discussions has been happy to wear a big hat for the whole of Scottish football. I think most people in Scottish football believe that merely tinkering is not what we need.

"We need something fairly radical to totally overhaul the game in Scotland and improve things, particularly matters financial – not merely for their league but for all 42 clubs.

"There are some fundamental problems with Scottish football. One is that there's a staleness about the top division and, by moving to a system of a 10-team top division and 10-team second division but with more teams passing up and down between the two, we hope that that staleness will be removed.

"The other fundamental problem we've got is that, when clubs are relegated at present from the top tier, they face financial armageddon.

"And we think it is important for the whole of Scottish football that clubs are protected from that and the money in the second tier of Scottish football is beefed up so that when clubs are relegated, they are relegated to a far better environment."

Meanwhile, Craig Brown has argued that no one had any right to criticise his service to Motherwell as he was unveiled as Aberdeen manager.

Brown quit his Fir Park role on Thursday night, 24 hours after publicly reaffirming his commitment to the club in the wake of interest from the Dons. The 70-year-old had returned to Motherwell in December last year, initially as interim manager, but never signed a contract despite agreeing to stay for the long term.

The former Scotland manager claims he had a verbal agreement that either party could end the relationship without compensation.

Motherwell chairman John Boyle has been angered by the manner of his departure, reporting Aberdeen to the SPL for approaching Brown without consent. But Brown, who began his professional coaching career at Fir Park, said: "The commitment I gave in the 70s and last year – we answered a call and we've answered a call here [by Aberdeen]. I don't think it [me leaving] should be an issue."