Premier breakaway driven by `altruism'

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Billed as "a brighter future for Scottish football", the proposals of the top 10 clubs in Scotland to create their own version of the English Premiership were unveiled yesterday. And if at first glance it seems that little will change, there were crucial elements in the proposals put forward to suggest there will be a fundamental shift in the bounds of power in the Scottish game.

The clubs are looking to establish control of their own finances in terms of marketing, advertising and television rights, and, like the English Premiership, they propose to establish a separate board with a chairman and chief executive independent of the clubs.

Lex Gold, the chairman of Hibernian and spokesman for the top clubs, made it clear that smaller clubs would be involved in the shake-up. His view is that altruism, rather than greed, is the motivator towards change.

The new league will consist of 10 teams playing each other four times a season with automatic relegation and promotion for one side each season. Clubs, if invited, will hope to participate in the Scottish Cup and Coca- Cola Cup competitions.

Gold said: "We want to build a successful Scottish game and to enhance the quality of our football. We're also looking to ensure club football benefits from the commercial opportunities available. The top 10 clubs have set out a model for the distribution of revenue between old clubs. That is something they must achieve without threatening other clubs."

The 10 clubs which comprise the Premier Division have tendered their resignations to the Scottish Football League with effect from the end of the season. This move will be discussed by the League management on 18 September.

"At least some of the money brought in will filter down. No club will be worse off than they are at the moment," Gold said. "We have been round the loop with potential sponsors and we are confident a more professional league would attract more sponsorship.

"We want to explain our ideas to the other clubs and we would hope the League would allow us clearance to start next season. We tried to promote our new set-up within the League, but it didn't work."