RESPONDING to the official statement from the Scottish Premier League, following the meeting at Hampden yesterday, Alan S. Harris, chair of the think-tank FansFirst Scotland, has issued a qualified endorsement of the proposed changes.
He said: “We very much welcome the progress made towards the reform of Scottish football, while noting that final decisions have yet to be taken by the SPL and SFL, and that there are gaps and further questions that still need to be considered.
“The principles of one league body, a fairer distribution of resources and the introduction of a pyramid system below league level are important and desirable.
“However, in accordance with the need to restore real competition in Scottish football, we would encourage much bolder moves towards the re-allocation of resources, as set out in the FansFirst Plan.
“While an additional play-off between the top and second tiers of the league is a positive change, another chance has been missed to move towards larger divisions – along the lines of the 16-16-10 structure we proposed, or the 16-10-16 variant mooted recently by the SFL.
“Repeated surveys, including the recent national one conducted by the governing bodies, have shown that this is what supporters – upon whose passion and money the game depends – want.
“With a reformulated Scottish League Cup, we remain convinced that larger divisions are both viable and desirable in practical and financial terms, based on criteria related to the renewal and long-term sustainability of our game.
“The impulse for change is at last being translated into action. We want to see this momentum continued and deepened as we move forward together.
“For that to happen, the representation of supporters at all levels of the game is needed, alongside further progress in extending community ownership,” concluded the FansFirst Scotland chair.