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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 20:16 GMT 21:16 UK
Scottish league faces collapse
The Old Firm are at odds with the rest of the SPL

  What now for the SPL? Have your say

Scottish football was plunged deeper into turmoil on Tuesday when 10 non-Old Firm clubs announced their intention to resign from the nation's top league.

The dramatic news was announced at a media conference held by the 10 and followed a two-hour meeting between all the SPL clubs at Hampden Park to discuss media rights.

The events follow last week's blocking by the Old Firm sides of plans for the league's own subscription-based television channel.

The prospect of a top flight without Celtic and Rangers may appear unlikely, but the other clubs are resolved to implement change.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's Sportsound, Kilmarnock chief executive David Heath said: "In the event that the clubs have to resign, we will do it.

"In the event that we are in a position where we have to survive without the Old Firm then we will do it."

  Claim and counter-claim
Hearts chief executive Chris Robinson
"The smaller clubs need to take control of their own destiny"
Hibs managing director Rod Petrie
"We have given a clear time scale for when things will happen"

Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod
"It is inconceivable that in two years' time Celtic will have nobody to play against in Scottish football"
Rangers vice-chairman John McClelland
"We haven't been bully boys"

The 10 clubs are fed up being an "oppressed majority" as a result of the SPL's current balloting system, which requires the approval of 11 of the 12 to sanction change.

The 10 want to constitute a new league that will incorporate a voting structure involving a 66% majority agreement.

The 10 also want to see a new method of distribution for television revenue. In the four years since the SPL was established, Rangers and Celtic have been receiving approximately 40% of all broadcasting monies.

As things stand, no broadcasting deals have been accepted for the forthcoming season, although offers are understood to have been made.

Under SPL rules, any clubs wishing to resign must serve a period of two years notice.

This cushion gives all clubs plenty of time to find a solution to the current crisis.


The opportunity will be there for the Old Firm to join that league under the terms we set out.
Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne
Promotion and relegation over the next two seasons could see some of the current ten come and go and their representatives are keen to stress that the invitation to establish a new league extends to all clubs, including Rangers and Celtic.

"We are not saying we are going to be a league of 10 two years down the line," pointed out Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne.

"The opportunity will be there for the Old Firm to join that league under the terms we set out."

The 10 also believe that the Old Firm's overt desire to play outside Scotland, either in new European leagues or in England, has undermined the stability of the SPL.

Hearts chairman Chris Robinson told BBC Radio Five Live: "The smaller clubs need to take control of their own destiny.

"Any new league that we set up will be founded on fairness in terms of voting structure.

Fans of the other 10 want to ditch the Old Firm
"There is a process to go through to put that in place but we certainly intimated that will be happening in the weeks ahead."

Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod and Rangers vice-chairman John McClelland said that they had no fresh proposals that might solve the impasse following the collapse of SPL TV.

The two Glasgow clubs withdrew their support from the proposed league-owned pay-per-view television channel at the 11th hour, deeming the venture too much of a risk.

McLeod had said on entering the meeting: "We voted against the resolution last week because we didn't think it was financially viable.

"There are other resolutions and we want to take a constructive view of that in court."

A BBC Five Live survey revealed that fans of the other clubs in the SPL think they would be better off without the Old Firm.

  What now for the SPL? Have your say

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Chick Young
"The 10 clubs feel they have been bullied"
Rangers vice-chairman John McClelland
"It's unfair to say the Old Firm have been bully boys"
Hearts chief executive Chris Robinson
"It's about taking control"
Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod
"It doesn't come as a total surprise"
 VOTE RESULTS
Is it the end for the SPL as we know it?

Yes
 80.58% 

No
 19.42% 

10148 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Scottish football crisis

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