SPFL leadership to meet Premiership clubs after criticism of governance review

The SPFL has delivered the independent governance review to all clubs.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and chairman Murdoch MacLennan to meet Premiership clubs after criticism of governance review SNS Group

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan and chief executive Neil Doncaster are to meet Premiership clubs after criticism of the league’s governance and leadership.

The SPFL has announced that the independent governance review, commissioned after the league body lost a long-running legal dispute with Rangers over a sponsorship deal, has now been delivered to all member clubs.

But six Premiership clubs: Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston, Rangers, St Johnstone and St Mirren have already claimed “serious concerns” regarding the report’s independence, transparency, and the overall governance of the SPFL.

The league later said it had addressed “factual inaccuracies” in the open letter from the clubs.

The six top flight clubs had called the chairman and chief executive to a meeting on February 27 to discuss their issues, with all other member clubs invited to attend.

However, MacLennan, Doncaster and SPFL non-executive Karyn McCluskey will now meet representatives of all Premiership clubs at an already-scheduled meeting next week, with the governance review on the agenda.

The leadership is likely to face severe criticism of its handling of the review. The six clubs had alleged that the SPFL executive made amendments to the report before it was shared with the board, and were also highly critical of MacLennan after the chairman made a public statement that he was “reassured but not complacent” after reading the review but before it had been approved by clubs or the board.

The review was commissioned after the SPFL was forced to make a public apology and pay costs to Rangers after losing a legal battle over sponsorship. The league had announced car dealership cinch as title sponsor but Rangers said the deal was in conflict with their own commercial arrangements with rival car firm Park’s of Hamilton, owned by former Ibrox chairman Douglas Park.

Henderson Loggie were asked to conduct an independent review of the running of the SPFL and delivered their findings in January after three months’ work.

Recommendations and findings will be discussed with the Premiership clubs next week, and with all 42 clubs at a further meeting, before any changes or implementation is put to the board.

An SPFL statement read: “We are pleased that, following further discussion with Henderson Loggie, we have now been able to circulate their independent governance review in its entirety to all 42 SPFL clubs. Now that clubs are in possession of the review, we are confident they will see for themselves how thorough and detailed the exercise was – and that Henderson Loggie have delivered in full on the brief announced in July 2023.

“Henderson Loggie’s report contains a number of recommendations for the Board’s consideration.

“The Board had hoped to consider all of Henderson Loggie’s recommendations at its scheduled meeting on Monday February 19. However, one director requested that this discussion be put back to allow all Board members to attend. That meeting, to discuss the individual recommendations, is therefore scheduled to take place on March 19, which is the first date after February 19 that all SPFL Board members can be there in person.

“Given the ongoing public debate, however, we are keen that clubs and the board are able to discuss the review at the earliest possible date. A scheduled meeting of Premiership clubs will take place on the morning of Monday February 19 and the governance review is already on the agenda. The SPFL Board is meeting later that day and its agenda also includes the governance review. As well as the Premiership club meeting, we intend to schedule further meetings in the weeks ahead, to enable all clubs to have their views heard, and their questions answered, at the earliest opportunity. The board will discuss the timing of those meetings on Monday.

“In addition, we intend to call a General Meeting of all 42 clubs, in line with the SPFL’s Articles, where our shareholders will be given ample opportunity to consider the board’s proposals in respect of Henderson Loggie’s recommendations, as soon as possible after March 19.”

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