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Dunfermline hit back at Inverness over ‘bullying’ claims

Inverness say they received 'bullying and threats' prior to the SPFL vote.

Dunfermline hit back at Inverness over ‘bullying’ claims

Dunfermline Athletic chairman Ross McArthur has hit back at Inverness over their claims regarding the SPFL season-ending vote, labelling the Highland club as “aggressive and confrontational”.

Previously, Inverness chairman Scot Gardiner contradicted the statement by Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster that no club had made allegations of bullying over the key vote which saw the three divisions below the Premiership curtailed.

Inverness said they were willing to testify to an allegation which they insist was reported on the day it occurred.

The Highland club’s statement said: “Without going into the specifics at this time, please know that we will testify to the bullying and threats made against our club on Friday 10th (of April) by an SPFL board member and the threats against others by the same SPFL board member.”

Dunfermline chief McArthur, who is one of nine SPFL board members, has strongly rejected Inverness’ version of events.

In a statement on the Pars’ website, he said their Championship rivals have behaved in an “aggressive and confrontational manner” throughout the process.

A number of clubs in the Championship would confirm it is the behaviour of Inverness that has continually been aggressive and confrontational.

Ross McArthur, Dunfermline chairman

The statement read: “I have said many times over the last couple of months, there are much more important things happening in our community and the wider world at present, than football. These matters should be our priority.

“In that context, it is not only regrettable but extremely embarrassing, that I have to provide this statement following the release of accusatory comments in a Club Statement made by the Chairman and CEO of Inverness, I am sadly now left with no option but to put the record straight.

“The individuals have been very careful not to mention me by name, but their intended target is clearly apparent.

“In life, you stand and fall by your reputation and your actions, and I thank the very many people from other clubs who have contacted me since these “leaked” WhatsApp messages first surfaced, to offer their support. I like the company I keep.

“Since the SPFL director’s resolution was first issued, a number of clubs in the Championship would confirm it is the behaviour of Inverness that has continually been aggressive and confrontational. However, no one felt it necessary to win points in public, as robust conversations take place in the normal course of a competitive business like football.

“Turning to the “allegation” regarding the information that was conveyed by me to Inverness FC, on Friday 10th April 2020.

“As confirmed by their own leaked What’sApp message group, I clearly did so as Dunfermline Athletic FC Chairman and NOT as an SPFL Board Member (as was expressly agreed and verified, before the call with other Championship clubs).

“It most certainly wasn’t a threat, simply a potential consequence of their action not to back the SPFL resolution currently put in front of them, in favour of a counter resolution which was being mooted at that time.

“This resolution would effectively have the same consequence as a “null and void” conclusion to the league season, but the SPFL central distribution monies would still be provided to clubs on their current standing. This was not going to be acceptable to Dunfermline Athletic, Alloa Athletic, Greenock Morton, Queen of the South and Arbroath.

“This had been openly highlighted the previous evening, during a video conference call of all but one Championship club, and raised by two Championship clubs at the time. This meeting was set up by me in good faith.”

It added: “Therefore, the communication to the Chairman of Inverness, on Friday 10th April was that any vote in favour of an alternative resolution like this, should the existing one fail, may be entirely dependent on all clubs in the SPFL Championship obtaining an equal (“one tenth”) of the attributable distribution pot for the Championship.

“There are many more things I would like to say, but I will retain my dignity and continue to be more concerned about the long term future of Scottish football at this time. The endless point-scoring is becoming tiresome, and I would have preferred to rise above it, but I have a duty to protect the reputation of Dunfermline Athletic FC.”