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SPL looks to end split in the game

The Scottish Premier League are moving closer to a major overhaul of the domestic game after holding further reform talks.

Representatives from SPL clubs have met again to discuss plans for league reconstruction and changes to the football calendar.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster has led a comprehensive review of the top-flight game for more than a year and he plans to officially announce proposals by the end of December.

Separate reports claimed the favoured option was for two SPL divisions of 10 with one automatic promotion place supplemented by play-offs between the ninth team in the top flight and three teams from the second tier.

Those plans would mean a 36-match league season and the removal of the split, which has caused numerous controversies due to the anomalies in fixtures.

There are also suggestions of regionalised leagues below the SPL, which would reduce the burden of travel costs on clubs and fans alike. Doncaster has worked closely with Scottish Football League counterpart David Longmuir since taking charge in July 2009.

Doncaster, former chief executive of Norwich City, gave a strong signal several days ago that an earlier start to the season would be introduced, allowing for the return of a winter break

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After talking down the benefits of a summer-based season, Doncaster said: “There are a lot of people who believe that an earlier start to the season might be worth looking at, and that could create the scope to create a winter break.

“Statistically the games that have been most at threat over the last 12 years have been in January.”

Doncaster added: “There are a huge number of things we are looking at, the calendar, the league structure, the number of league bodies.

“To get anything meaningful we need 11 votes and creating consensus on even the simplest things in football can be difficult. That's why it has taken so long.

“What we're trying to do is to rip up what we've got at the moment and replace it with something much better.”

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