Steven Gerrard has branded the Scottish Professional Football league’s handling of a vote to abandon their season “an absolute mess” with the Rangers manager endorsing his club’s call for an independent investigation.
Controversy has overshadowed the SPFL’s resolution to close and call the season as is after Dundee submitted a defining vote, rescinded it and subsequently changed their mind. Dundee’s eventual ‘Yes’ ballot paper meant the resolution passed on Wednesday and the SPFL declared their bottom three tiers over. They will do likewise to the top flight, meaning Celtic retain the championship, when approval has been granted by Uefa.
“From afar the SPFL looks an absolute mess,” said Gerrard. “All I ask is for the main leader of the SPFL to show some real leadership.
“I think what he has to do now – because there are so many accusations, doubts and questions about this institution – is allow an independent investigation into the setup to prove everything wrong and make sure there is fairness and transparency.”
Murdoch MacLennan, the SPFL chairman, has asked the Rangers chairman, Douglas Park, to submit the “alarming” evidence the club alleges poses “serious questions concerning the corporate governance of the SPFL”. MacLennan said: “It is difficult to understand why Mr Park should not wish to share this alleged material with me.” Rangers believe a breakdown in mutual trust renders that a non-viable option.
“I’m listening to ex players, pundits, I’m reading media and it’s [the SPFL] getting absolutely battered from pillar to post the way it’s handled things in the past couple of days,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“The SPFL have said they’re open to an internal investigation but I don’t agree with that because you shouldn’t really be allowed to mark your own homework. If you mark your own homework, you’re always going to come top of the class. There’s not going to be any questions asked.
“For me, there needs to be an expert; an investigator or a forensic investigator, who can come in and look at everything across the board with the SPFL.
“And if everything’s clean, fair and transparent then the media and ex players can’t slam the organisation.”
The Hearts owner, Ann Budge, now involved in a task force looking at SPFL reconstruction which could save her club from relegation, has echoed much of Gerrard’s theme. “Yesterday afternoon’s announcement that Dundee FC has re-cast its vote, in support of the SPFL’s written resolution of 8 April leaves me both disillusioned and bitterly disappointed,” said Budge. “Believe me when I say that I know that you, our supporters, will be equally disappointed and indeed angry.
“Suffice to say that I believe the SPFL should have admitted that errors had been made in the handling of this resolution, withdrawn it and asked clubs to revote.”