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Stephen Craigan

How bad management of SPFL's controversial vote has left an ill feeling that will take time to clear

Stephen Craigan


Hitting back: Rangers have said they will not quietly accept the outcome of the vote

Hitting back: Rangers have said they will not quietly accept the outcome of the vote


Neil Doncaster

Neil Doncaster


Hitting back: Rangers have said they will not quietly accept the outcome of the vote

From the outside looking in, I can only imagine what people must think of Scottish football as a whole after what can only be described as a chaotic seven days.

At a time when the world is uniting and looking out for one another, there seems to be more division amongst Scottish clubs than I can remember.

After last Friday's so-called straightforward vote amongst the 42 senior clubs, which was to determine whether the league season should be ended immediately with current positions standing, no one could have envisaged the fallout that would follow over the non-appearance and then appearance of Championship side Dundee's vote.

The reason their vote was so important was because the whole resolution put forward by the SPFL hung on them voting 'Yes'. Without it, they wouldn't have the required percentage and it would fail.

When their vote didn't appear, league bosses inexplicably released the results as they stood. As soon as Dundee realised their vote hadn't arrived and was not included, they hurriedly called the league to cancel their original vote, which was 'No', and said they wanted to reconsider.

A secondary SPFL error was accepting Dundee's request to cancel their initial vote before their original 'No' slip mysteriously arrived at 9pm.

This acceptance by the league bosses is what enraged many clubs who had refused the proposal, ranging from Rangers to Hearts to Partick Thistle, as they queried the integrity and validity of the SPFL's actions.

Rangers requested last weekend that chief executive Neil Doncaster be suspended pending an external enquiry, claiming they have evidence of wrongdoing throughout the build-up to the original vote.

Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park has vowed his club will not be bullied into silence, so this doesn't look like ending soon.

After a long drawn out process, Dundee, as expected, reversed their original 'No' vote on Thursday afternoon and the SPFL's initial proposal passed. This means the three lower leagues are now finished with Partick Thistle and Stranraer relegated from their respective divisions with eight games unplayed. The Premiership is suspended but the ending of their season is likely to be ratified at a Uefa meeting later this month.

So, what next for Scottish football?

Well, this process has caused a lot of fallout and created ill feeling amongst clubs and the SPFL have had a big part to play in that. It will take time to heal the wounds of many and it could have been avoided if managed and led properly.

The people in charge have been criticised in many quarters and in all honesty it's hard to argue against it. They need to hold their hands up at the poor management of the situation.

They are supposed to be protecting the interests of all senior clubs yet the only two that have been punished are the aforementioned relegated sides, Partick and Stranraer.

I wrote last week about league reconstruction and a positive is a task force has now been set up to look into the viability of that, which will be driven by Hearts owner Ann Budge.

If passed, this will hopefully mean no club is punished when, through no fault of their own, they were denied an opportunity to rectify their position.

Another positive is some cash-strapped lower league clubs received final payments due to them that will hopefully give them some respite during this uncertain time.

The rage and anger against the SPFL hierarchy will continue in the weeks and months ahead for sure. Let's hope relationships within the game can be rebuilt because there's no doubt Scottish football is stronger together.

Belfast Telegraph