February 6, 2023



Rangers repeat call for SPFL reform after losing vote for inquiry | Football

2 min read

Rangers have repeated their call for an overhaul of the management of the Scottish Professional Football League despite failing with a bid to secure an independent investigation into the handling of a vote to abandon the 2019-20 season. Rangers’ resolution, unsurprisingly, did not generate the needed 75% cross-division quota of SPFL members at an extraordinary general meeting called following weeks of ill-feeling.

“A management culture which not only fears accountability and scrutiny, but which also actively campaigns against it, is unhealthy and breeds continued mistrust,” the Ibrox club claimed. “This culture, so deeply embedded, must be addressed if Scottish football is to flourish. It is clear that many members have lost confidence in the SPFL leadership and the need for change will not diminish. The status quo cannot hold.”

The vote saw 13 clubs expressing support for the EGM, two abstaining and 27 voting against. During talks before ballot papers were counted, Celtic’s chief executive, Peter Lawwell, had issued a strong defence of the SPFL board.

Lawwell was also highly critical of a dossier issued by Rangers and against the SPFL last week, which he said lacked evidence and accuracy. Dave Cormack, the Aberdeen chairman, told fellow clubs he did not believe Rangers should have called for the suspension of the SPFL’s chief executive and legal adviser at the outset of this row. Ann Budge, the Hearts owner, insisted the governance model in Scottish football is not fit for purpose.

“The last few weeks have been bruising ones for many people in our game,” said Murdoch MacLennan, the SPFL’s chairman. “Far too many words have been spoken and written which have sown anger and division amongst clubs. That is a matter of the deepest regret to very many people in our game, myself included.

“I know those who proposed this resolution will be disappointed, but I trust that everyone involved, on both sides of this argument, will now respect the clear, democratic and decisive result we have seen and allow our game to move forward together. The overwhelming majority of clubs voted to oppose this resolution and it’s now incumbent on all clubs to put their differences aside, otherwise we will all suffer together.”

Rangers, though, insisted “it would be unwise to regard this result as any kind of endorsement of the SPFL executive”.

Celtic welcomed the “decisive vote” against the inquiry. “We greatly regret the denigration of named individuals who have, on every occasion, acted upon decisions which were made by the board of the SPFL, representing all 42 clubs,” a club statement read. “The board and executive of the SPFL have operated under circumstances of unique difficulty in dealing with challenges of an unprecedented nature.”

Confirmation of Celtic’s Premiership title, a ninth in succession, is now imminent. Barring a legal challenge, Hearts will be demoted to the Championship having played 30 of the season’s scheduled 38 games.

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