The Scottish Professional Football League has claimed that criticism from six Premiership clubs over its governance review contained “factual inaccuracies” that have now been addressed – but another member club says their handling of the review raises “fresh concerns” over the leadership.
Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston, Rangers, St Johnstone and St Mirren sent a letter to the SPFL executive detailing their serious concerns over the handling of an independent review into the organisation’s governance, independence and transparency.
The independent review had been commissioned after the league body lost a long-running legal dispute with Rangers over a sponsorship deal, which ended with the SPFL paying costs and making a public apology.
The six clubs claimed SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan had released a statement saying that he was “reassured” by the findings of the report without approval from clubs or the board and that his comments did not reflect the full findings. The clubs also alleged that the SPFL executive made amendments to the report before it was shared with the board.
In a statement released on Friday, the Hampden bosses claimed that the clubs had their facts wrong and that the matter had now been dealt with.
An SPFL spokesman said: “We can confirm that we received a letter on behalf of six Premiership clubs.
“The letter contained a number of factual inaccuracies, which we have now addressed with those clubs.
“We look forward to discussing the recommendations of the independent governance review with all Premiership clubs at a meeting soon, once the process has been completed.”
However, the league has faced fresh criticism from a member club, with Stenhousemuir saying the six clubs have their full backing.
Stenhousemuir said that the issue had begun with the “apparent botched handling” of the sponsorship issue with Rangers, and that their chairman Iain McMenemy raised his concerns at the SPFL general meeting in July 2023.
In a statement, McMenemy said: “After being assured for almost two years that the SPFL were in the right in continuing this dispute with Rangers, we were surprised to receive, without warning, a copy of a news release that seemed to be an embarrassing climbdown. The SPFL had to apologise to Rangers, pay compensation and legal costs, and admit that they got this wrong.
“Quite rightly, we wanted to know why we had gone down this now discredited route, how much this had cost the league, and in turn how much less would be paid out to clubs because of this? Knowing this was essential to ensure that we don’t make these mistakes again in the future. This was the basis and catalyst for the Independence Governance Report.
“Far from drawing a line under this issue, the entire handling of this review and report raises fresh questions and concerns regarding the judgement of those running our game.
“It’s time for complete transparency with all member clubs who are the shareholders of the SPFL. We welcome this intervention from six of our largest clubs and will support them in any endeavour to achieve transparency, clarity, and accountability as a matter of urgency.”
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