Media Release: Scottish football bodies asked to hear fans’ views on league changes

THE chief executives of the three professional football bodies in Scotland have been asked to have direct representation of supporters’ views on their proposed working party into league reconstruction.

The call has come in an Open Letter to Stewart Regan (SFA), Neil Doncaster (SPL) and David Longmuir (SFL) from the new policy and advocacy organisation, FansFirst Scotland.

Says a spokesperson: “The think tank, which is about to launch its proposals concerning the future of the game in Scotland, following the recent Rangers debacle, has also issued a fuller statement on the hotly-contested league reconstruction issue.

“The Open Letter notes that ‘there have been rumours of a new three-league structure with a 16-team top flight being the preferred choice of the SFA, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League’.

“It says the development ‘is significant from our point of view, since a 16-team league has been the preferred option of Scottish football fans, expressed in two surveys completed at the end of 2010 and 2011. In both surveys, fans made clear their boredom with, and lack of interest in any model that required teams to play each other too often’.

“FansFirst Scotland describes the willingness of the three bodies to consider larger leagues as ‘moving, at last, toward sharing the opinion of the vast majority of fans, their customers’.”

However, the group adds: “We are dismayed that the football authorities have made no proposal to include supporter representation on the working party they are reportedly setting up. While the body might have an independent chair, the other members appear likely to be drawn from the ranks of those who gave us the debacle that surrounded decisions taken about Rangers.”

It continues: “Scottish football fans have made clear that they expect to have their ideas and proposals for the best interests of the game nationally, and for the teams they support, to be heard without hindrance in the decision-making bodies of the game; and to exercise effective influence on governance and decisions best suited to the well-being and success of the sport nationally and in individual clubs… We trust that the SFA, SPL and SFL will turn their minds to how best to achieve this aim.”

The principal authors of the FansFirst Plan have offered to meet with the proposed league reconstruction working party to look at proposals for larger leagues, backed by supporters, in detail.

The Open Letter to the SFA, SPL and SFL can be read in full here.

The FansFirst Scotland statement on league reconstruction is set out here.

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