STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

SPFL asks clubs to grant board emergency powers for next season

The league body wants scope to deal with Covid-19 issues without calling 42-club votes.

The Scottish Professional Football League has asked clubs to vote on granting the league’s board extra powers to deal with the impact of Covid-19 next season.

The 42 member clubs will decide whether or not to cede decisions related to coronavirus, with the SPFL saying it wants to avoid the “rancour and division” that marked votes on calling the 2019/20 season and the failed moves to restructure the leagues.

Major decisions, such as moving the start date of the league or ending the competition before all games have been played, are currently made after a vote involving all 42 member clubs.

A majority voted to call the season and award prizes based on a points-per-game basis but the procedure, including a delayed vote from Dundee, caused division.

A letter sent to clubs explained the reasons for asking for the “express authority” to deal with Covid 19-related disruption.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster told members: “Following the curtailment of Season 2019/20 due to the Covid-19 crisis, a number of clubs have suggested that the board should ‘do something’ to avoid a repeat of the uncertainty and division that we saw during season 2020/21.

“These circumstances were created by the board asking members for the express authority to curtail the season and cancel the play-offs.

“As we know, this effectively meant asking clubs to vote for the relegation of other clubs in circumstances where the season could not be completed.

“The repeated suggestion has been that the board should take the responsibility for dealing with such emergency decisions in the interests of all SPFL clubs.

“Clearly no-one can predict how quickly Covid-19 will dissipate, nor whether and how quickly a vaccine may be developed. While we are optimistic about the Premiership commencing on the weekend of August 1, it remains entirely feasible that season 2020/21 may be disrupted by a second wave or further spikes in the occurrence of cases of Covid-19.

“As was so apparent earlier this year, SPFL rules do not adequately cover the situation where a season has to be curtailed, with a number of games remaining to be played.

“The accompanying resolution is recommended to member clubs as a means of giving your board the express power to deal with Covid-19 related disruption to season 2020/21.

“It is considered that much of the division and rancour that followed the suspension of the game on 13 March was due to the fact that current SPFL Rules do not cater expressly for the situation of a season not being able to be completed with games outstanding to be played.

“Whilst there was a clamour for the SPFL Board to ‘show leadership’ and to make decisions to steer the SPFL through the crisis, the board were constrained by current SPFL Rules – which forced the board to seek approval from the members at various stages in the process.

The attached resolution, if passed, would give your board the authority to make decisions in relation to Season 2020/21, in the event that Covid-19 causes disruption to the season.”

Clubs have 28 days to decide on the resolution, with 75% of the clubs in the Premiership, Championship, and Leagues One and Two needed to back the move in order for it to pass.