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Motherwell challenge SPL's post-split fixtures

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Motherwell have mounted a challenge to the Scottish Premier League's post-split fixtures after joining St Mirren in condemning the announced schedule.

St Mirren will take no action despite being unhappy at being handed a third game away to relegation rivals Falkirk.

But Motherwell chairman John Boyle has promised to pursue "all avenues of protest" against the fixtures.

In response, the SPL said: "No fixture card could have delivered 19 home games and 19 away games for all clubs."

Motherwell face a third match away to Celtic, leading Boyle to call an emergency club board meeting on Monday.

"The board at Motherwell FC are deeply concerned about the outcome of the post-split fixtures and its implications for the sporting and financial position of the club," the Fir Park club said in a statement.

I feel it is a disgrace that this decision has been taken by the SPL

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour

"We are seeking an immediate discussion with the SPL on what has happened and why, and have a duty of care to our fans, shareholders and employees to ensure that the apparent inequity we have been asked to suffer is remedied.

"We understand that the SPL cannot please everyone with every fixture decision, but the decision-making process has resulted in a deeply unfair outcome both competitively and financially and we cannot let that stand."

Boyle's side finished in the top six but face a third trip of the season to Celtic Park and the Fir Park club complain that the loss of a home fixture against one of the Old Firm clubs would cost the club £200,000.

Well's chairman is also unhappy that their two remaining home matches will not be played on Saturdays, which he claims will mean a loss in corporate hospitality revenue, with one being on a Sunday afternoon and the other on the night of the General Election.

The club, whose board will meet again on Monday afternoon to consider their options, also claim that there was no meeting of the SPL fixtures committee ahead of Saturday's announcement of the remaining games.

Those were announced on Saturday evening after Hearts' 1-0 victory over Kilmarnock ensured that the Edinburgh side would join Well, Hibernian, Dundee United, Celtic and leaders Rangers in the top six.

St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour is angry that his side will face a third trip of the season to Falkirk Stadium.

The Buddies find themselves in the bottom six and, following Saturday's 2-1 defeat away to Falkirk, are now level with the Bairns at the foot of the table, with Kilmarnock just a point ahead.

MY SPORT: DEBATE

Gilmour did not think there was any point in mounting a challenge similar to Motherwell's.

"It is a waste of energy," he told BBC Scotland.

However, the St Mirren chairman remains unhappy and stood by his earlier comments made on the club website.

"We are in a fight for SPL survival along with Kilmarnock and Falkirk and it seems grossly unfair that we have been asked to go and visit one of them for a third time this season," he had said.

"Surely the three obvious candidates for relegation should have played each other on equal terms.

"I feel it is a disgrace that this decision has been taken by the SPL and it would appear to put us at a disadvantage in the relegation battle.

"This only goes to highlight one of the deficiencies of having a 12-team league."

The SPL said the split system meant it was impossible to have 19 games home and away for all top flight clubs.

"As a result of this exercise Motherwell is required to visit Celtic Park an extra time and St Mirren is required to visit Falkirk Stadium an extra time," it said in a statement.

"These switches, which are clearly unfortunate for the clubs involved, were unavoidable and are consistent with minimising the disruption across the SPL as a whole."



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see also
SPL announces post-split fixtures
10 Apr 10 |  Scottish Premier


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