Arise the SPFL!
The latest incarnation in Scottish football was given the go ahead at Hampden on Wednesday when the SFL clubs decided to throw in its lot with the SPL. Will this lead us to the promised land?
The long drawn out gestation has had plenty of false labours but the key vote has passed the 75% threshold (just) and the road is open for all 42 senior clubs to meet to form the Scottish Professional Football League.
The innovations will include one body to oversee the leagues, more money directed to lower league teams particularly those in the second tier, a pyramid system giving an opportunity for teams in the Highland and Lowland leagues to join the senior leagues and a play-off system between the top two leagues.
There is no provision to alter the current 12-10-10-10 structure. There are two major consequences for teams in the top league. First, the team that finishes in 11th will face a nail biting end of season clash with the 2nd, 3rd or 4th team in the second tier playing for promotion/relegation. The hope is that the broadcasters will be tempted to pay handsomely for the rights and that the whole league can benefit. Meanwhile the search for a new league sponsor will be helped now that the bickering seems to be over.
The second effect will be that the teams that finish in the top half of the table (particularly the champions and runner up) will take a cut in the end of season distribution of commercial revenues. The hope is that the trickle down will eventually lead to an overall improvement in the Scottish game.
Time will tell.
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