Rangers have called for the chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League, Neil Doncaster, to be suspended and an investigation held into the extraordinary circumstances surrounding a vote on ending the season. The Ibrox club said they will “not be bullied into silence”.
The SPFL advocated a resolution that would close the campaign as it stands and settle titles, promotion, relegation and prize monies, with 75% of clubs in the Premiership, Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 combined needed to vote in favour for it to be passed. On Friday evening, the SPFL took the unprecedented step of issuing a result with 85% of votes cast.
The key domain is the Championship, where one outstanding vote would pass or sink the resolution – and it then emerged Dundee’s declaration was missing. Dundee had issued a lengthy statement earlier on Friday, stating: “No member club should be worse off as a result of this proposal than they are today. The current proposal will see member clubs cumulatively have in the region of £3.5m-4m lost revenue.”
The plot thickened on Saturday afternoon, as the Inverness chief executive, Scot Gardiner, claimed he and other Championship administrators were sent a copy of a Dundee’s no vote via group message on Friday afternoon. Gardiner said the Dundee club secretary followed up with a message of: “DFC vote submitted.” The SPFL say no ballot paper arrived from Dundee. After that came to light, Gardiner said the secretary claimed he had been asked to “hold off” resubmitting.
In a fierce statement, Rangers said: “We have been presented with evidence via a whistleblower that raises serious concerns surrounding the SPFL’s processes … We believe it is in the interests of all Scottish clubs and supporters that the evidence, which is alarming, be addressed as quickly as possible.”
Douglas Park, recently installed as the Rangers chairman, said: “The farcical conduct of this affair seems to me to bring the corporate governance and business operations of the SPFL into sharp focus. Other member clubs, who have seen the evidence we hold, share our concerns. We call for the suspension of the SPFL’s chief executive, Neil Doncaster and its legal adviser, Rod McKenzie, while an independent investigation is conducted.”
Murdoch MacLennan, the SPFL’s chairman, said: “I would expect Douglas Park to present compelling evidence to back up his claims, or to withdraw them.”