Celtic criticise 'divisive' talks

22 March 2012 06:17

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has described the actions of the 10 non-Old Firm clubs who met to discuss possible changes to the Scottish Premier League as "divisive".

The 10 clubs are looking to change the 11-1 voting structure for structural changes, which favours Celtic and Rangers, to a 9-3 format which could facilitate potentially wide-reaching reforms.

The next general meeting of the SPL is on April 12, where any issues surrounding change could be discussed, and Lawwell told STV: "We see it as potentially divisive and concerning for every Scottish football supporter at this very difficult time for the game in Scotland. We could all do without it."

He added: "We are not against protecting the lower clubs. We were part of the strategic group that committed to transforming the funding of the First Division.

"But we were disappointed and we feel it disrespectful that, (with) what Celtic and Rangers bring to the game, and having spent nearly two years and a lot of time helping to develop a strategy, that we were excluded."

The SPL clubs failed to reach agreement on league restructure last year after a series of meetings saw a proposal for a 10-team top flight and 12-team SPL 2 rejected, and indeed, it appeared an impasse had been reached.

Lawwell revealed that Celtic now favour an increase in the SPL to 14 teams, with a split, which would see the top clubs play two fewer games per season.

He said: "If we were asked our opinion on whether we want a 10, 12 or 14 (team league), we could see ourselves voting for a 14 as long as it's a six and an eight and if that helps the clubs that have great concerns about relegation.

"We actually started at the strategic group with a 10 (club plan). We felt it was right. It was 36 games and that gave us the appropriate time for Europe and possibly a winter break.

"Martin (Bain, former Rangers chief executive) and I were then convinced for a 14 because the top six would play 36 games. We were persuaded to go back to the 10 for the greater good because the majority around the table wanted the 10. But 10, 12 or 14, it doesn't really matter, other than the number of games you play."

Source: PA