Deja Vu For Football Structure
With clubs voting on merging the SPL and SFL, how long before top clubs ask for a break away again
Today is the day for yet another meeting about changes to how football in Scotland is structured. Clubs will gather at Hampden today to be asked to vote on plans for a merger of the SPL and SFL. Last month an informal vote saw just 16 of the 30 SFL clubs gave their backing to the proposals. This was before Second and Third Division clubs met to discuss a potential breakaway by the 10 First Division side - a threat which is still in the background. All SFL clubs - apart from Rangers, who are only associate members having joined last summer and therefore do not get a vote - will now gather in Glasgow with their top-flight counterparts. The plan needs 22 votes in favour to go ahead but SFL chiefs are hopeful rather than confident the proposal will be passed.Stenhousemuir chairman Bill Darroch said: "I think it will be tight, I think it is hard to call. Some clubs will still be making their minds up as they travel to Hampden. The clubs got some documentation only (on Monday) and I have still to have a look at it. We are not totally 100 per cent happy but the general feeling is that it is better we have all 42 clubs together than have a split. There was a meeting between the Second and Third Division clubs after the AGM and I detected a softening among some clubs but I can appreciate there are a number of different and legitimate concerns among them. The governance needs to be right, and the voting structure is not as equitable as it could be but we have been debating this for a long time so hopefully we get it over the line."Third Division Stirling Albion are set to vote in favour of the plans but director Stuart Brown is also cautious about the outcome. He said: "It is on a knife-edge. As a board we have agreed to vote yes on the basis of information that we have been given but more information is becoming public all the time which means it might not be as straightforward as some people might think. There is a lot of talking to be done."Forfar Athletic director David McGregor admits the Second Division club's decision to vote yes will be made with a "heavy heart." He said: "The vibes I am getting is that the vote will be carried. The general feeling is that there are still one or two clubs against it but they will get the 22 to take it through, although I might be proved wrong. We have reached the stage where there is not a great alternative. We were a 'no' at the AGM but we have changed our mind and will stick with that although it will be with a heavy heart. We have got to hope it is the right decision. I think even those clubs in the First Division will be wary."
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