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SFL clubs vote for merger with SPL

Updated: Wednesday, 12 Jun 2013 14:02 | Comments

The landscape of Scottish football looks to be changing
The landscape of Scottish football looks to be changing

Scottish Football League clubs voted in favour of a merger with the Scottish Premier League at Hampden Park today.

A minimum of 22 of the 29 SFL clubs eligible to vote - Rangers did not get a vote as they are associate members having joined last summer - were needed to push reconstruction proposals through.

Amid a background of acrimony surrounding the vote and with the ever-present threat of a breakaway by the first division clubs, 23 clubs voted yes with six against.

The proposals include a 12-10-10-10 structure, with the 11th-placed team in the top-flight taking part in four-team play-offs at the end of the campaign and a new financial redistribution model, but they also bring with it the end of 123 years of SFL history.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir admitted there was some sadness behind the end of his organisation, saying "yes and those feelings are heartfelt" and also conceded that there were many misgivings among the clubs, even those who had voted yes.

He said: "I feel there were some reluctant heroes today. We have always embraced the big principles but once you go behind the big principles like governance, distribution and one league body, there were areas of major concerns.

"But nevertheless a lot of them have seen it for the good of the game and we all accept that Scottish football is better governed under one roof.

"On the 27th June there will be a formalised completion of the process and the first board meeting of the new organisation - the SPFL (Scottish Professional Football League) - will take place that day and at that point a board will be appointed.

"I would imagine that other processes will take place to design the new organisation and resource it."

Asked if he would have a role in the new organisation he replied: "That is something I am not considering at the moment until such times as the completion on June 27, and others will tell me if I have."

SFL president Jim Ballantyne was strident when asked if he felt it was more of a takeover than a merger.

He said: "It is not a feeling, it is a fact. It is a takeover. We are joining their company, their organisation.

"They have swallowed us up. We could use nice words about it it, but it is a takeover.

"It is very sad that the Scottish Football League has had to be a casualty but unfortunately we were left with one option.

"Did I want to see the end of the Scottish Football League? Absolutely not.

"Did I want to see football strive forward? Then yes. It will be for others to decide if this step takes us to where we want to go."

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