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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 12:06 GMT 13:06 UK
Scottish clubs to quit
Rangers director Douglas Odam and Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod
Old Firm representatives failed to persuade the others
The 10 non-Old Firm clubs of the Scottish Premier League have announced they intend to resign from the league within 24 hours, with a view to leaving in two seasons' time.

The decision comes after failing to reach an agreement with Celtic and Rangers over changes to the league's voting structure.

This situation has materialised despite all 12 clubs officially agreeing to a new two-year TV deal with the BBC.

The group of 10 first raised the prospect of resigning after Celtic and Rangers blocked the launch of an SPL TV channel in April.

The 10 clubs outwith the Old Firm put forward a resolution before an extraordinary general meeting at Hampden Park on Wednesday to ask for a change in the voting structure.

The structure currently in place needed an 11-1 majority to implement any major changes in the SPL, but the 10 wanted that altered to 8-4.

That proposal was unacceptable to both Old Firm clubs and the 10 rebel clubs will now carry out their threat to resign from the SPL.

Hearts chief executive Chris Robinson insisted the decision had been taken in the interests of democracy.

"There are 104 things that they think they should have an absolute say on in Scottish football," said Robinson, referring to the conditions insisted upon by the Old Firm.

"Things like who sits on the substitute bench and what age they should be should not be something solely decided by the Old Firm.

"In two years' time, we will still be playing in Scotland and playing in a league that has a fair structure, a two-thirds majority and simple rules."

SPL chairman Lex Gold
Lex Gold still hopes for a compromise
The clubs must tender their resignation by midnight on Friday, in order to be able to leave at the end of season 2003/4 when their two-year notice period ends.

Celtic and Rangers would be left isolated with no league to play in but the rebel 10 may then invite the Old Firm to join up with them on their own terms, under different voting rules.

But Lex Gold, chairman of the SPL, said negotiations would continue and that a compromise was still possible.

'Constructive concessions'

He said: "I have been trying for two or three months now to broker a deal between the Old Firm and the other 10."

"I'm encouraged by the fact that all 12 clubs have agreed that those negotiations should continue," he added.

Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod said the decision of the 10 was extremely bad news for Scottish football.

"We are extremely disappointed at the action the 10 have taken," he said.

"I can understand that the 10 have concerns," he added.

But McLeod said Rangers and Celtic had made "a series of constructive concessions" to avoid the breakaway.

He continued: "We felt that these concessions would be acceptable but unfortunately they haven't been.

"I think there are a number of issues that are still outstanding. Voting rights is one of them but not the only one."

BBC Five Live's Andy Gillies
"All ten resignations have been signed"
Celtic chief executive Ian MacLeod
"We are extremely disappointed"
Motherwell administrator Bryan Jackson
"We will resign in the next 24 hours"
Old Firm crisis

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31 Jul 02 | Scot Prem
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