Topping sees bright future for SPFL
Ralph Topping has urged the whole of Scottish football to stop dwelling on the past and look to the future after a new Scottish Professional Football League was finally rubber stamped late on Thursday night.
All 42 senior clubs gave their backing to the new set-up, which sees the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League merge into one organisation, after a mammoth day of talks at Hampden that spanned around 15 hours.
Topping - chairman of the SPL, who will retain a similar role within the SPFL for now - admits there were times in the last year or so when he feared league reconstruction plans would never get over the line and he welcomed what he believes will be a positive move for the game north of the border.
He said: "I won't take you through the full match but we will look at the result and we got a tremendous result for Scottish football - 42 clubs in agreement, signing documents. Did I ever think this would happen? Probably only in the last six months did I think we would get there eventually.
"Once it became clear that the SPL clubs were unified, I thought anything was possible. Lo and behold, we got there. You could have stuck a quid on it and maybe won 300 quid at one point six or nine months ago. I felt it was in the no chance category.
"But I always said that clubs at some point had to look to the future and thankfully 42 clubs are looking to the future. If this was a car, we would be taking the rear-view mirror out and stopping looking at the past to look to the future."
The new set-up will see the current 12-10-10-10 structure remain, under one organisation, with the introduction of play-offs and a new financial redistribution model.
Asked why it took so long to gain the necessary ratification, Topping said: "I keep asking myself that but I've been involved in commercial negotiations before and there are a number of people who look for infinite reassurance.
"But there was a turn in events where people decided to concentrate on the big boxes, with the big picture, and satisfy themselves that that had been catered for. Lawyers were given instructions by both sides and people made decisions, rather than allowing lawyers to make decisions, because we might have been here until Christmas. It's good progress, great progress."
SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster will remain in the role until a new CEO is appointed, with SFL chief David Longmuir expected to throw his hat in the ring for the job along with Doncaster.
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