SPFL asks clubs for indicative vote on 14-team Premiership

The change would reverse the relegation of Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer and promote two non-league clubs.

The Scottish Professional Football League is pressing forward with league reconstruction and believes there could be enough support from clubs to expand the top flight next season.

After receiving feedback from 41 of the 42 teams of the SPFL, the league body’s board has written to the clubs proposing a 14-team Scottish Premiership for next season – an increase in two.

The Championship, League One and League Two would remain at ten teams.

In a letter to the 42 clubs the SPFL said there was widespread sympathy for the teams who were relegated from the divisions as a result of the curtailment of the 2019/20 season and that this permanent change would address any “perceived unfairness” from that outcome.

Heart of Midlothian, Partick Thistle and Stranraer were all demoted from their divisions as a result of last season ending prematurely but would return to those respective leagues under the reconstruction proposal.

It would also see the second placed teams from last season handed promotion – Inverness to the Premiership, Falkirk to the Championship and Edinburgh City to League 1.

The two vacant places in League 2 would be filled from the Highland and Lowland Leagues – assumed to be current champions Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: “Understandably, the consultation exercise confirmed there is sympathy for those clubs relegated at the end of Season 2019/20, but also that there is no reasonable prospect of clubs approving a temporary reconstruction solution.

“However, the board has judged there is sufficient support for a permanent change to merit this second stage of consultation.

“As ever, it will be up to the clubs to decide whether or not to support this proposal and we will be guided by the democratic outcome of the process.

“We are understandably keen to get clarity one way or another at the start of next week, as the timescales are extremely tight and we are faced with the additional complexities of resuming the season, caused by Covid-19.”

Clubs have been asked to return a ballot as soon as possible, and no later than Monday June 15, indicating whether they would support a 14-10-10-10 structure and the calling of a fast-tracked Extraordinary General Meeting to rubber stamp it.

A high threshold of votes is required for the reconstruction to be successful – 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs must vote in favour and a total of 17 clubs from the top flight and the Championship combined. A total of 32 clubs from all four leagues is needed to secure the change.

The SPFL set out a proposal for the changes in prize money that would see the Premiership 12 give up between 0.38% and 0.13% each to pay for the extra top flight teams.

The other 30 in the lower leagues would forfeit between 0.05% and 0.005% of their annual cash to fund the new clubs in League 2.

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