The Raith Supporters Trust attended the Fans meeting on League Reconstruction last night at Starks Park. It was an interesting and frank session with Turnbull Hutton and Eric Drysdale leading the discussion and a number of other Rovers Directors present. Below is a brief summary of the main points discussed:
The SFL have a ‘shopping list’ of issues they’d like to address in any reconstruction, namely:
- A single league body
- Fairer distribution of money
- An easing of the ground regulations to get into top flight (seats, undersoil heating etc)
- Voting rights being dominated by the Old Firm
- More promotion and relegation between divisions
- Number of teams in each division (bigger divisions, not playing each other 4 times)
The Board of RRFC felt that the 12-12-18 proposal meets all these except the last item on the above list.
- The SPL and SFL will merge, this is not a takeover by one of the other
- The Old Firm veto will end as the new league body will have 9 Directors: 3 from the Premier, 2 from the Championship, 1 from the National League, 2 Non-executive Directors and a Chairperson
- There will be two automatic promotion spots from National League to the Championship, and a 6-team playoff between the bottom 2 in the Championship and those in positions 3-6 in the National League
- A pyramid has been proposed, but this is dependent on the SFA being able to get agreement with the non-league bodies to set up two national feeder leagues – It was felt this probably won’t happen in the short term.
- SPL teams are giving up money in order to create a better model lower down the league structure. This means teams finishing in the top half of the Championship before the split receiving significantly more money than at present (an additional £419k for the winners). For example if Raith Rovers finished second again they would receive an extra £352k on top of the current £90k
- The other potential benefit to clubs lower down in the structure will be that any sponsorship or TV money over and above what is currently raised will trickle down to all 42 clubs, rather than being kept by the SPL clubs.
- Ground regulations will be relaxed and will be handled more on a case-by-case common sense basis.
- Promotion and relegation between Premier and Championship will be done through the “Middle 8 split” consisting of the bottom four teams from the Premier and top four teams from the Championship. The middle 8 would start with everyone on zero points potentially making it a more exciting ‘sprint’
The Board of RRFC felt that while 12-12-18 is not seen as ideal, it is really the only model on the table. Many other configurations have been discussed and researched, but could not be made to work financially. The club is concerned that if it doesn’t go ahead then the SPL will invite clubs into an SPL2 and do nothing to address any of the concerns on the shopping list.
They felt that while the proposals don’t deliver bigger leagues at the top end of the game they do mean that the majority of the 42 teams in Scotland will play a greater number of teams each season than they currently do. They see the current proposal as a window of opportunity to move forward, and the only option that will allow Raith Rovers to break out of its current financial situation. They recognise that it is not perfect, but believe it is the only way forward which is likely to be offered. While not perfect, going forward the single league body and change in voting rights mean that it will be much easier to change the make-up of the divisions in future if 12-12-18 is found not to be the right structure.
The session was well attended and we appreciate the RRFC Board giving us the chance to find out more about the proposals and put our views to the Board. If you have any thoughts then please let us know at email@example.com