SPL clubs united in bid to expand membership

The plans would see two leagues of 12 split into three divisions of eight after 22 games

Scottish Premier League clubs have “unanimously” agreed to seek the expansion of their membership.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster revealed clubs were united in backing an idea which could see their ranks double to 24.

The plans would see two leagues of 12 split into three divisions of eight after 22 games.

However, they are significantly different to proposals adopted by the 30 Scottish Football League clubs last week for a three-tier structure.

Doncaster said: "There is a view that we need to be expanding the top league to be looking after the whole of the professional game in Scotland but also those clubs that aspire to be full-time professional clubs.

"The view unanimously expressed round the table today is that is exactly what we should be doing.

"We met with the clubs in September, a restructuring group was formed and its work was fed back to all of the clubs today, and unanimously they approved the view that we should be working towards a plan that does exactly that."

The plans would see the top eight teams play each other twice again for a 36-game season, two less than the current model, which splits into two after 33 games.

The bottom four of the SPL1 would join the top four of SPL2 and complete their own extended play-off system, with the bottom eight teams of the 24 playing each other twice again.

The SFL plans are for a 16-10-16 structure with a number of promotion/relegation play-offs at the end of the regular season.

Doncaster told Sky Sports News: "The fundamental problem with a 16-team model is that you end up with fewer games and more meaningless games.

"The reality of any system is that it has to deliver in terms of competitive, exciting, meaningful games.

"And it's important that at the same time we look at an expanded top league, that we also ensure there are sufficient exciting meaningful games to be able to drive the crowds."

Doncaster and SPL chairman Ralph Topping will outline their proposals at upcoming meetings of the Scottish Football Association's professional game board later this month.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir and president Jim Ballantyne is also on the committee along with SFA chief executive Stewart Regan.

The SFA have been attempting to drive reconstruction attempts for two years but the vast difference between the ideas of both league bodies suggests they are no nearer a successful conclusion.

SPL clubs, who are set to meet again on December 3, could not agree on Doncaster's proposals for a two-tier system featuring a top flight of 10 clubs last year.

PA

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