SPL examine 14-team top tier idea

12 January 2011 06:59
A top tier of 14 teams has emerged as the most likely alternative to the 10-10 arrangement proposed by the Scottish Premier League.All 12 clubs will meet at Hampden to hold further talks on possible league reconstruction on 17 January. [LNB]SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster is backing a top division of 10 and hopes clubs can reach an agreement in principle at the gathering in Glasgow. [LNB]Celtic and Rangers are also known to favour a two divisions of 10 set-up. [LNB]However, Dundee United, Hearts, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Kilmarnock have expressed doubts about a 10-10 and St Mirren have publicly stated their preference for a league of 14. [LNB]The SPL continue to lobby for change, with Doncaster and chairman Ralph Topping having met Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson at Gleneagles on Saturday. [LNB]And the SPL duo will fly out to Lithuania for talks with Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov on Thursday. [LNB]Following the first meeting of all 12 clubs on 4 January, a 16-team league, known to be popular among fans, was seemingly dismissed as unworkable. [LNB]Both Topping and Doncaster said that it was not financially viable, with their calculations seeing each club losing around £1m per year as a result of lost matches and television revenue. [LNB]A 14-team league would involve a split, which is a much-maligned aspect of the current system, but it would see the end of fixture imbalances that have been thrown up in recent seasons since teams would play their opponents twice each either side of the division. [LNB]The split could be 8/6, 7/7 or 6/8. [LNB]No formal vote is expected at the 17 January gathering, since a formal resolution needs to be put to clubs 14 days beforehand and that has not happened. [LNB]The two-week waiting period could be waived if all clubs give their consent but one SPL chairman has already told BBC Scotland that outcome is unrealistic. [LNB]The package of reform proposed by the SPL also involves play-offs, an earlier start to the season and a winter shutdown.

Source: BBC_Sport