Club claims SPFL handling of shutdown is ‘affront to supporters’

Stenhousemuir have heavily criticised the SPFL's management, saying they silenced clubs.

Club claims SPFL handling of shutdown is ‘affront to supporters’ SNS Group

Stenhousemuir have criticised the SPFL’s handling of the latest football shutdown, saying there was no consultation and that clubs were “silenced” at a meeting with the league hierarchy.

The club believe it is unacceptable that they found out about the suspension of their games through a media release, and say that they and others were not allowed to speak at an all-members’ meeting this week.

Scottish football’s Joint Response Group took the decision to suspend all football below Championship level with immediate effect as the nation works to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The decision has been criticised by some, with League Two side Stenhousemuir saying that there is no evidence that clubs are responsible for the transmission of the virus into communities, nor do players catch it at a higher rate than the rest society.

However, in addition to opposing the new measures, Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy has taken aim at the SPFL and their management of the situation.

McMenemy said that it was “deeply disappointing” that the suspension decision was not communicated to the clubs themselves in advance of a media release, and that there had been “no consultation with clubs, no warning and no support offered”.

The club chairman also said he could confirm reports that a meeting of all 42 clubs convened by the SPFL and headed up by SPFL chairman Murdoch McLennan did not allow the individual clubs the chance to speak.

McMenemy stated that during the video conference all club representatives had their microphones muted, with the only questions addressed being those submitted in writing in advance of the meeting. The Stenhousemuir chairman said that his repeated attempts to be heard were refused.

He said: “So faced with the news of this imposed suspension of football, our own league body refused clubs the opportunity to discuss this at our own members’ general meeting. 

“For the record, we have been represented at every league meeting held, and this censured format has never been used before. I very much doubt that I need to say much more on this as many football club supporters will be outraged at hearing this, but sadly not surprised. 

“Fans own our game, they are the biggest stakeholders in our clubs. 

“Silencing the club voices who are in place to represent fans, in arguably the worst crisis Scottish football has faced, is an affront to supporters everywhere.”

McMenemy called for reform of the league body, adding: “Football fans deserve better than this from our league bodies – change is needed, reform must be put on the agenda at some point soon. 

“We will campaign for change and we hope that other clubs and supporter groups will too.”

An SPFL spokesperson said: “As with previous meetings, given there were over 50 people on the Zoom call, we advised all 42 clubs in advance that questions should be emailed in, to ensure everyone had a chance to make their points. The chairman reiterated this procedure at the start of the meeting. All questions received during the meeting were read out in full by the chairman and answered comprehensively.”

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