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Page last updated at 20:08 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

St Johnstone's Brown backs SPL2

St Johnstone chairman Geoff Brown
Brown has been a long-time supporter of an SPL2

Geoff Brown thinks a second tier for the Scottish Premier League is needed to make full-time football viable for clubs outside the current top 12.

The St Johnstone chairman told BBC Scotland: "There is not a club in the First Division that can afford to run full-time.

"I would certainly advocate an SPL one and an SPL two.

"The Scottish Football League are having great difficulty in getting the level of sponsorship that's required."

St Johnstone are back in the top flight after a seven-year absence and the Perth side suffered financially during their time in the First Division.

"There must be a softer landing," said Brown. "Relegation from the SPL, as we've found, can be severe.

"This year it's Inverness's turn and Dunfermline have had it."

Their intention to set up a second tier was announced by the Scottish Premier League in 2006 but has met with repeated opposition from the Scottish Football League and indifference from supporters.

St Johnstone were one of the sides backing a proposal for an SPL2 in 2007 when a threatened breakaway from First Division clubs failed to materialise.

In March of this year, SPL secretary Iain Blair said the path was clear for "detailed work" to begin on the formation of a new lower division.

Blair's confidence stemmed from a decision from the Scottish FA's arbitration panel, which concluded that a second tier would not breach a prior agreement between the SPL and the SFL.

However, the SPL has since seen its television revenue reduced following the collapse of broadcaster Setanta and top flight clubs might be unwilling to risk the further spread of their dwindling wealth.

Despite those worries, Brown said: "I know the bigger clubs would look to have a 10-team Premier League and a 12-team SPL2.

"For me, that would be an easier way of doing things and that in itself would help to spread the money out. You would have a certain amount of sponsorship coming in and there would be an increased media interest."

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see also
Brown warning for full-time clubs
21 Aug 09 |  St Johnstone
Blair optimistic over SPL 2 talks
19 Mar 09 |  Scottish Premier
Gold still hopeful on SPL2 plan
01 Jul 08 |  Scottish Premier
SPL2 rebels eye summer breakaway
08 Mar 07 |  Scottish League
SPL to create a second division
17 Aug 06 |  Scottish Premier

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