No inquiry into SPFL vote as Rangers fail to get backing

The outcome of the extraordinary general meeting has been revealed.

An independent inquiry into the vote which ended the SPFL lower league season will not go ahead, after Rangers’ motion failed to win the required backing at an EGM.

The meeting, forced by the Ibrox club with support from Hearts and Stranraer, saw 13 votes in favour, 27 against and two abstentions.

They wanted a probe into the circumstances of the vote after confusion over Dundee’s ballot, which ultimately proved decisive.

For the investigation to have taken place, 75% of Premiership clubs, plus 75% of Championship sides and 75% of those in League One and League Two combined needed to vote in favour.

However, in the Premiership, where nine clubs would have been needed to vote in favour, just four supported the resolution, with eight opposing it.

In the Championship, where eight clubs were required to vote in favour, only one club supported the resolution, with nine in opposition.

And in Leagues One and Two, where 15 clubs would have been required to vote in favour, a total of eight clubs supported the resolution, with ten opposing and two abstaining.

The virtual conference call between all 42 SPFL clubs kicked off at 11am with requisitioners Rangers stating their case.

Around four other clubs then spoke before there was comment from Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell on the current state of Scottish football.

Last week the league body had written to member clubs asking them to vote against Rangers’ resolution, having previously described it as “wholly unnecessary” and “inappropriate”.

Rangers had claimed last month to have been given evidence from a whistleblower which they said raised serious concerns surrounding the vote to end the lower-league season.

The club had called for SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal adviser Rod McKenzie to be suspended.

A statement from Rangers chairman Douglas Park, on April 11, said: “Crucial decisions are being made on the issues of promotion and relegation behind closed doors and without proper time for consideration or debate.”

Speaking after Tuesday’s EGM, SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan urged clubs to now respect the democratic process.

He said: “The last few weeks have been bruising ones for many people in our game. Far too many words have been spoken and written which have sown anger and division amongst clubs. That is a matter of the deepest regret to very many people in our game, myself included.

“I know those who proposed this resolution will be disappointed, but I trust that everyone involved, on both sides of this argument, will now respect the clear, democratic and decisive result we have seen today and allow our game to move forward together. The overwhelming majority of clubs voted to oppose this resolution and it’s now incumbent on all clubs to put their differences aside, otherwise we will all suffer together.

“I have taken careful note of the concerns expressed by the minority of clubs which voted in favour and when we are back to playing football in a safe environment, I will bring clubs together to discuss the lessons learned.”

It remains to be seen if this is the end of the matter or if Rangers, Hearts and Stranraer pursue other avenues.

Celtic welcomed the result and declared they were satisfied there was “no evidence of any wrongdoing by the board or executive”.

A club statement read: “We greatly regret the denigration of named individuals who have, on every occasion, acted upon decisions which were made by the board of the SPFL, representing all 42 clubs.

“The board and executive of the SPFL have operated under circumstances of unique difficulty in dealing with challenges of an unprecedented nature.”

Celtic added: “We now appeal to all clubs to look to the future in the knowledge that the threats which exist to the fabric of Scottish football are grave and unprecedented.

“All of our energies should be applied to planning for the return of the game in season 2020-21 and to the financial survival of all our clubs.”

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