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RabidAl

SPFL 16-16-10

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Now that clubs are no longer addicted to revenues from multiple home games to the Old Firm, and have shown they can survive on 1-2 home games against the Old Firm each season, is it time for an expanded top tier?

The bottom half of the English Premiership this season shows how competitive many medium-sized clubs with evenly-matched teams can be, and kills the old ‘big league equals more meaningless games’ dogma.

Each team in our Premiership has the same number of points available to them as each team in the English Premiership, yet we don’t have this depth of competition because we don’t allow enough mid-sized clubs into the top league.

We also don’t have this depth of competition because we have such a small, cut-throat second tier.

For mid-sized clubs such as Morton and Ayr United to realise the potential of their fan bases they need a larger second tier, so that they can establish themselves as full-time clubs consistently challenging for promotion – without the imminent threat of relegation each season.

How many mid-sized clubs with full-time potential are there?

Motherwell, Hamilton; Dunfermline, Falkirk; St.Johnstone, Dundee; Inverness, Ross County; St.Mirren, Morton; Kilmarnock, Ayr United; Raith, Livingston; Partick, Airdrie, Queen of the South; maybe Stranraer, and others? Added to the bigger clubs of Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United, this could give at least 24 full-time clubs with decent fan bases competing on an even footing from the middle of a 16-team second tier upwards.

The following 16-16-10 SPFL structure fits comfortably into a traditional August-May season, with a 2-week winter break, and is supported by an all-through financial model that would enable our mid-sized clubs to maintain competitive teams and realise the potential of their fan bases.

16 teams in the top 2 tiers, with teams playing each other once at home and once away, to give 30 games. The leagues then each split into sections of 8 teams, with teams playing each other team once more, home or away, to give 7 one-off league games, deciding promotion and relegations issues, who goes into the end-of-season play-offs, and who qualifies for Europe. This gives 37 league games in total, at least 18 at home.

In League One, teams play each other twice home, twice away to give 36 games.

The larger size of league gives fewer games against the same opponents, and more games against different opponents, than the current 12-10-10-10 structure. Post-split it gives small leagues replete with meaningful games that will draw in crowds.

For example, in the Premiership at least 3 from the top 8 will qualify for Europe; 2 from the bottom 8 will be directly relegated, with 1 going into the play-offs.

In the Championship, 2 from the top 8 will be directly promoted, a further 3 from the top 8 will go into the play-offs; 2 from the bottom 8 will be directly relegated, 1 will go into the play-offs.

In League One, 2 from 10 will be directly promoted, a further 3 will go into the play-offs, and 1 bottom club will be directly relegated, as any team finishing last in their league should be.

Open relegation and promotion, and play-offs, give more games against different opponents as more teams change leagues more often. Revenues for clubs are boosted by higher crowds attending more meaningful games against a greater variety of opponents.

Any thoughts?

12-16 Analysis .xls

12-16 Blurb .doc

SPFL Prize Money 2015- .xlsx

Edited by RabidAl

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16-16 rest told to sling their hook would be good, but the voting structure of the new merged league is every bit as restrictive as that of the SPL, so it only takes two top flight clubs to block it. The problem appears to be that Aberdeen and Hibs side with Celtic on this even in the absence of Rangers.

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Would wait and see what next seasons championship is like in terms of competion. I feel a larger top league is attainable with teams like Dundee, Falkirk, Dunfermline, Livingston, Hamilton all having been in top league at some point. The only thing that could be a problem is that the Div 1/2 teams would be cut off even further than they already are. Would be a top 16-20 and the other teams would struggle to stay up if promoted. But as always money talks and if theres money to be made then changes will follow.


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What the bollocks would the ten team league under this tyranny be any good for exactly??? Three leagues of 14, no stupid splits or unneccessary jiggery pokery. Firstly, to come to this conclusion,(something the OP never mentions, just picks clubs out of the sky) the bottom Prem club would be relegated to the new Div One, and the top three 'Champ' clubs promoted, with the bottom 'Champ' club relegated to the Division Two. The rest of Div One would be made up of teams 4th-9th in the 'Championship', the top 5 finishers in 'league one' and the top two in 'league two'. Into the season, being in the top half after 26 games should give you 7 home fixtures of the final 13, with each team from 1st to 7th playing those home fixtures against the 7 teams immediately below them. Like so, 6 home games for the bottom 7, of which most would be against the top 7, thus maximising the interest and hopefully the gates. This repeated through all 3 leagues, with the Week 26 falling at the end of January. With a Scottish Cup round the following week, the Final Stage would commence on the second week in February. After 39 matches are completed, ideally by the second weekend in May, the bottom PL club are relegated, and Division One Champions promoted. 2nd and 3rd bottom and top clubs then enter a Playoff Series, with both D1 eams playing the PL sides at home, in one off fixtures. The winners progress to face one another with the first PL place decided. The loser of this then faces the winner of the match between the two original losing teams, thus giving us two qualifiers from the four for the PL the following year. Repeat procedure for between Divisions One and Two, except relegate/promote the bottom/top two between each league. Theres yer dinner.

Edited by ShawfieldAggro

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Ultimately the number of "quality" clubs isn't at the core of the argument. Not in the eyes of the clubs themselves. It's a question of having enough games; making most of them meaningful; and having a strong enough division to land in if relegated. Obviously there are basic considerations - like a reasonably fair program in sporting terms and working roughly within current membership numbers - too.

Having 16-team divisions fails on too many of those counts.

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bringing more dross into the top league benefits no one, it would be shite

I disagree. From the middle of the Championship upwards you'd have up to 18 mid-sized clubs, with similar resources, competing for more promotion and relegation. It could be intensely competitive.

By playing the Old Firm less and smaller clubs more, you could also see the larger clubs with potentially more resources such as Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United winning more points (if they got their acts together), and challenging for the title more often.

In my view, either bigger leagues or shorter seasons can give more variety of fixtures, more competition, and a challenge to the OF. A more even financial distribution could also help produce the latter two outcomes.

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It already is 'intensely competitive'. Removing large chunks of teams up and not down would make it much less so. The smaller leagues were also the brainchild of the clubs you illustrate as looking to gain enough points for a challenge, as playing shite teams for half the year wasnt paying enough. A strong First Division is just as important as a string Premier League, whichever way you look at it.

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I disagree. From the middle of the Championship upwards you'd have up to 18 mid-sized clubs, with similar resources, competing for more promotion and relegation. It could be intensely competitive.

By playing the Old Firm less and smaller clubs more, you could also see the larger clubs with potentially more resources such as Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United winning more points (if they got their acts together), and challenging for the title more often.

In my view, either bigger leagues or shorter seasons can give more variety of fixtures, more competition, and a challenge to the OF. A more even financial distribution could also help produce the latter two outcomes.

I can see a valid point here. As things stand (assuming the new Rangers attain the level of old Rangers) there are 24pts available from games against the 2x teams with the most resources and few teams manage to pick up more than 2 or 3 of those, this contributes to the usual huge points gulf between them and the rest and is what has made the top league a 2x horse race for most of it's existence with this format. The teams who were fighting for third place, knew before a ball was kicked that they were likely to be around 20x points or more behind the OF come the season end.

I would honestly expect that the longer The Rangers remain outwith the top tier, the gap between Celtic and the next 2 or 3 clubs will diminish. I certainly hope and expect to see Aberdeen get a whole lot closer to them next season and perhaps that and continued improvement in crowd sizes, will be enough to convince our club chairmen and the authorities that we can survive perfectly well without these extra 'big' games and indeed the 'bigotfest' itself.

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By playing the Old Firm less and smaller clubs more, you could also see the larger clubs with potentially more resources such as Aberdeen, Hearts, Hibs and Dundee United winning more points (if they got their acts together), and challenging for the title more often.

... and a challenge to the OF. A more even financial distribution could also help produce the latter two outcomes.

These are 2 of the great myths always present in these discussions: clubs have failed to keep-up with the OF due to dropping more points against smaller clubs than the OF did, not due to playing the OF x4 instead of x2.

You could argue that playing x4 actually helps, as it gives 2 more opportunities to compensate for that difference.

Financial redistribution has minimal effect since - ultimately - domestic prizemoney is a drop in the ocean of e.g. Celtic's budget.

Edited by HibeeJibee

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As I see it…

…the more times you play a stronger opponent, the more times they beat you.

If this is true, it follows that:

  • single games give the best chance of an unexpected outcome, so one-off cup games are a true test of a team’s ability on any given day;
  • playing each league opponent once at home, once away gives a true test of a team’s ability over a season;
  • playing each league opponent 4 times over a season (e.g. SPFL) exaggerates any difference in ability, biasing the league further in favour of those with better resources (e.g. the Old Firm);
  • playing the Old Firm 8 times over the course of a season further amplifies the difference in ability that their resources give, and guarantees that no-one else can win the league (at present the OF can’t even help the situation by taking points off each-other);
  • playing the Old Firm less often and (relatively) weaker teams more often, means that your team can win more often;
  • playing more teams of a similar standard to you means more competitive matches and less predictable outcomes.

It seems to me that clubs in the SPL sold any opportunity they had to win the league for more home games against the Old Firm. They also excluded many clubs with good-sized fan-bases in the process of creating what is, in effect, a constant play-off league. Will the SPFL be the same?

If we’re not bothered about the Old Firm being Scottish Champions every season, we could do worse than opening up promotion and relegation with something like 2 up/2 down and a 3rd-bottom vs 3rd-top play off (as described in the ‘Re-Think the Play-Offs’ thread), to at least give more variety of fixtures and more competition.

If we are bothered about creating a league in which some other teams can challenge for the title, it follows from point 5 that not only do winning teams accumulate more points towards a title challenge, but they tend to draw in bigger crowds, giving clubs more revenue, that in turn helps them to put a better team on the pitch. Again, this helps towards a title challenge.

If these arguments are right and we want to keep small leagues, then we need shorter seasons (e.g. separate Autumn and Spring seasons).

If these arguments are right and we want to keep traditional seasons, then we need bigger leagues (e.g. 16-team top tiers).

With more open promotion and relegation, either option would give a greater variety of fixtures. Either option would give more competition because of this, and also because more clubs with good-sized fan-bases could realise the potential revenues of being involved in Premiership or promotion-to-Premiership games. Both options are also more likely to produce a challenge to the Old Firm.

Finally, I agree with the first reply to the original post – either 2 tiers of 16, or 3 tiers of 10 is more than enough for our national game.

Below that, north, east and west regions seem to best reflect the geographical distribution of senior clubs in Scotland: the proportion is, I think, 30 north, 37 east, 32 west. This would allow the majority of part-time clubs greater revenues from playing local matches, with less expenses of having to travel nationally; a new Cup o’ Regions would give them a chance to win a trophy nationally but at their level.

In terms of the pyramid, if you relegated the bottom club from the national leagues each season, and had second-bottom in a play-off with top of each of the three regions (random draw, two one-off Finals, the two winners are promoted – e.g. 2nd bottom Championship vs 1st East and 1st North vs 1st West), you would have a fluid system between the regional and national leagues, and interesting play-offs.

Anyone still reading? Congratulations – a Blue Peter badge for you!

Jeremiad over!

Edited by RabidAl

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Two 16s and then regional leagues after that. Merge the current league two, the SJFA leagues, and the three senior "non-leagues" into a single body of regional leagues(Leagues of no more than 14) and we would have a true pyramid.

To replace the lost revenue from 4 league games, the league cup would be replaced by the "Scottish champions league" with all 32 clubs from the top 2 leagues playing in 8 groups of 4 home and away, and then knockout stages after christmas home and away, with a single final at hampden.

For the Scottish cup there would be a single 9 round knockout tournament with the top teams not automatically getting byes. All 260 clubs would go into the hat for the first round and 252 would get byes, but it would be drawn at random(So any team can be one of the unlucky 8 having to play a first round match) then from r2 onwards it would be a straight 8 round, 256 team knockout

Edited by Mr Bairn

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The old 18 team First Division didn't have that many different champions than the Premier league has had (if you count the Premier league starting in 1976). So the argument that playing weaker teams giving a side outwith Celtic and The Rangers a better chance of winning the title doesn't really stack up.

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The old 18 team First Division didn't have that many different champions than the Premier league has had (if you count the Premier league starting in 1976). So the argument that playing weaker teams giving a side outwith Celtic and The Rangers a better chance of winning the title doesn't really stack up.

You're right, it doesn't stack up, not at all, it is League Arithmetic for Dummies to be honest, these geniuses continually spout out their logic despite the fact that the evidence that they're talking complete bollocks is there for them to see.

In the 10 season before the Govaneers went tits up, after 2 rounds of games against each opponent (which, remember, is the magic number of games to propel one of The Rest to a title purely by the introduction of this system) the average gap between Best of The Rest and top place in the league has been 15.7 points!

Now unless you imagine that both of the XOF are going to lose 5 more games against the additional dross shipped in to give us a 16 or 18 team league then the really the best we're going to see is a marginal reduction in the gaping chasm between the No 1 spot and Best of The Rest.

It isn't solely games against the XOF that determine The Rest are floundering in the XOF wake, it's also games against each other; the Best of The Rest drop more points against their peers than the XOF did (and will again in the future).

Since V1.0 evaporated things haven't really improved for The Rest; season one of being a rangers free zone after 2 rounds Best of the Rest was 11 points behind celtic and this season it was 14 points adrift.

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14-14-14

7-7split

2up/down automatically

3rd bottom/top play off - 1 leg at neutral venue (Hampden?)

Limit teams to 18no players over the age of 23yo within squad.

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In 1970/71 the Dons finished runners-up (to Celtic)> I always think we should have won the title that year.

We beat Celtic away and drew at home - should have beaten them at Pittodrie. We drew with Rangers home and away, 2 points for a win back them.

It was home draws with St Johnstone, Airdrie, Motherwell and St Mirren that scuppered us.

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It was also Aberdeen, Dundee Utd and The Rest who wanted a smaller league with an abolition of the splitting gate monies which led to the creation of the Premier Division (not League) until 1998. Not that i'm criticising....i dont think we could justifiably call any more than 14 clubs of 'Premier' standard, level of interest or abilities to improve the overall game notwithstanding. Again, the importance of a reasonably strong First Division supporting the elite is a must. This tediously insulting bollocks about more and 'intense' rivalries and competition are riduculous. Anyone who.is interested in the game goes. Those who.arent, dont. Those in charge of clubs are clearly not fussed at falling quality and attendances, particularly as the top tier chairmen no longer rely on The Rangers' payday, so while the status quo cintinues the game will slide further down the pan.

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Some of the pros and cons…

Shorter Seasons (Autumn/Spring) Status Quo Larger Leagues

(10-10-10; N-E-W) (12-10-10-10; H-L) (16-16; N-E-W)

+Pros +Pros +Pros

More variety of fixtures Split creates meaningful Are inclusive:

due to more promotion matches against closest

between leagues league rivals enable clubs to

establish themselves

Consequences of relegation 4 games against each in Championship

less harsh due to chance of rival club with similar (without having to

immediate re-promotion resources/teams of fight relegation

similar abilities creates immediately) to

Chance of challenge to OF competition & prepare for a future

as less games & less games unpredictable results promotion challenge

against them per ‘season’

4 home games against enable 20+ clubs

2 chances to win league OF good for gate receipts from Championship

each calendar year – one in upwards participation

autumn season one in spring OF playing each-other in Premiership or

season 4 times boosts tv revenues promotion issues

2 chances at promotion each - Cons Very competitive IF

calendar year No-one can challenge OF mid-sized clubs can

to be Scottish Champions galvanise their fan

4 home games against OF bases, through

each calendar year for those Uneven numbers of home/ participation in

who stay in Premiership away league games against Premiership/

other teams promotion issues &

4 OF clashes each calendar if league revenues

Year for tv revenues, plus Play off system is laborious shared more evenly

chance of 5th in end of year (2 leg play offs with

play-off for Champions’ Lge QF, SF, F takes weeks) In a 30-game season,

place more chance of a

Play off system is unfair challenge to the OF

If play-offs for promotion/ to lower-league sides since teams can win

relegation are only a final, or more points against

none at all, both seasons Limited automatic (relatively) weaker

fit within an August-May promotion/relegation: opposition and lose

football year including a less points from less

2-week winter break - creates a stale fixtures games against, &

list defeats to, the OF

Helps players to develop in -Cons

a continuously competitive - shuts out mid-sized Initially, small clubs

environment clubs with good with weak teams

size of fan bases who were promoted

-Cons to Premiership

Too much promotion & - compounds negtives would struggle to be

relegation could end up of being relegated competitive, until

being like a Benny Hill because it is so hard their increased

sketch with teams chasing to be promoted again revenues from league

each-other around the prizes, increased

divisions home support, and

larger away supports

helped them put a

better team out

If a split was used to

make up the number

of home games, then

more games against

the OF would negate

any challenge

A 30-game season

needs some way to

increase the number

of guaranteed home

games for clubs – e.g.

a split or league cup

sections, such as 8

groups of 4

If we opted for shorter seasons (e.g. Autumn/Spring), here’s how I see the pyramid looking:

Premiership Championship League One

Celtic St.Mirren Cowdenbeath

Aberdeen Hearts Morton

Motherwell Dundee Rangers

Dundee Utd Hamilton Dunfermline

Inverness Falkirk Stranraer

St.Johnstone Queen South Ayr Utd

Hibernian Livingston Forfar

Kilmarnock Dumbarton Stenhousemuir

Ross County Alloa Brechin

Partick Th. Raith Rovers Airdrie

North Premier East Premier West Premier

Arbroath East Fife Annan Ath.

Peterhead Stirling Clyde

Montrose East Stirling Albion

Elgin Berwick Queen’s Park

Brora Spartans East Kilbride

Formartine Stirling University Dalbeattie Star

Nairn Vale of Leithen Gretna 2008

Inverurie Whitehill Welfare Threave Rovers

Fraserburgh Edinburgh City Newton-Stewart

Deveronvale Preston Athletic Wigtown & Bladnoch

North First East First West First

Forres Gala St.Cuthberts

Wick Selkirk Nithsdale

Buckie Lothian Thistle Crichton

Clachnacuddin Craigroyston Heston Rvs

Cove Tynecastle Mid Annandale

Huntly Edinburgh Uni. Lochar Thistle

Turriff Coldstream Abbey Vale

Keith Leith Athletic Fleet Star

Lossiemouth Heriot-Watt Creetown (9 teams)

Rothes Civil Service

North Second East Second

Strathspey Easthouses Lily

Fort William Kelso Utd

Halkirk Utd Peebles

Golspie Suth. Ormiston

Muir of Ord Burntisland

Thurso Eyemouth

Alness Utd Hawick R.A.

Sutherland (8 teams) Duns (8 teams)

I’ll get to doing the 16-team version at some point…

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As far as the Winter/Spring League is concerned it would only be feasible for the top 2 divisions of 10 and even then the First Division would be toiling to get 10 teams with suitable pitch protection or G4 pitches to guarantee completing the Winter League on time.

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Really need to cut down from 4 national leagues I would probably favour a cut to 2/3

Pro

Premiership 12 teams - 38 games, just can't see much chance of things changing number wise. Would like to see bottom 2 automatically relegated.

Current SPL

Championship 12 teams - 44 games Chance to bring in more revenue so more practical to be full time and more games mean need to bring more players through youth system. Premiership play offs should be semi final 3rd v 4th and the 2nd placed team play the winner in the final.

Current Championship plus Rangers and Dunfermline

National League - 12 teams - split into two conferences of 6. Play own conferences teams 4 times = 20 games play other conference teams 2 times =12 games so 32 games in total A hybrid of a regional system so bridge gap between levels. A few less games may suit what is generally highest predominately part time level. Two conference winners get automatic promotion with highest ranked non conference winners having a play off against 10th championship team. 2 automatic relegation spots to regional leagues (2 of which would be bottom of their conference and the poorest team not to finish bottom of their conference would enter play offs with highland and lowland teams. So a lot to play for so a lot of meaningful games.

Northern Conference: Forfar, Brechin, Arbroath, Peterhead, East Fife, Stirling

Southern Conference: Ayr, Stranraer, Airdrie, Annan, Stenhousemuir, Clyde

Regional (semi pro)

Tier 1 - Highland and Lowland Premier - each with 14 teams and champions gain automatic promotion

Highland: Wick, Brora, Elgin, Forres, Nairn, Buckie, Montrose, Inverurie, Formartine, Fraserborough, Deveronvale, Cove, Clach, Turiff

Lowland: Berwick, , Spartans, Vale of Leithen, Dalbeattie, Whitefill, East Kibride, Gretna, Edinburgh City, Stirling Uni, East Stirling, Albion Rovers, Queens Park, Preston, Gala

Tier 2 downwards - Split into North, West, East etc working with junior system but fairly merging EOS, SOS etc

County/Amateur

Keeps a bit of pressure on poorly performing regional teams there would be some criteria to get into regional leagues so may not necessarily be relegation every year but teams that consistently are poor can be dropped down.

Greater Glasgow, Ayrshire, Dumfries, Borders, Lothians, Fife, Tayside, Grampian, Inverness etc

Cups

Scottish Cup - Pro and regional teams (early rounds could double for top regional cup (junior cup equivalent) to limit fixture congestion)

League Cup - 3 Pro divisions

Junior cup - not really junior as such but retain that cup as the top event for regional level teams

Region Cups - Highland, West and East all Regional teams can compete but maybe invite top end county/amateur teams to give them a taste of higher level and reward achievement..

Please no cups beyond that unless they are some sort of pre-season or reserve team events.

Liqudation

Any teams that ceases to exist must start at the equivalent tier at a level below if they succeed in SFA approval for a new co e.g. a Premiership team that goes bust if a new co is created they could start in tier 1 of regional level e.g. Highland or Lowland League. A Championship team in similar situation would start their new co in tier 2 of regional level. Strict controls though to stop a repeat of Airdrie moving Clydebank.

Administration

Current points deductions and penalties stand. Additionally If say a club went into administration between January 2014 and the Start of the 2014/15 season they would need to be out of administration by the day of the 2015 Scottish cup final to avoid relegation of 2 tiers. Basically teams get a seasons grace to sort themselves out. If a club enters administration for a 2nd time over a 5 year period then relegation of 2 tier is automatic (so basically they are on probabation for 5 years after coming out of administration.

Ticket pricing

Maximum prices that can be charged for over 50% of available tickets

Premiership - £15

Championship - £12

National League £10

Regional Leagues £8

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