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League Reconstruction 20/21 season

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Rushing through some botched league reconstruction as a reaction to this crisis would definitely, definitely end well.

If it’s not possible to finish the season then end it as it is, European places based on current standings, Celtic champions etc.

Promotion/relegation is tough one, I’d be inclined to cancel it for this season and leave leagues as they are.

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The motivation for a reconstruction is not "just to save Hearts", it's an attempt to get out of this mess in a way that doesn't negatively impact on clubs. It's as much about Dundee United, Partick Thistle, Queen of the South, Falkirk, Raith and many others.

That's not to say I agree with doing it, because I don't, and I don't actually think the document was genuine (or at least I don't think it was put out there by anyone on the SPFL board, or was being seriously considered by them). However, the idea that it's purely for Hearts' benefit is absolute nonsense from Stewart Gilmour, which shouldn't be a surprise because that is more or less his default setting.

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1 hour ago, Dons_1988 said:

Rushing through some botched league reconstruction as a reaction to this crisis would definitely, definitely end well.

What we don't know at the moment is whether August or even September will be impacted

If there's not going to be time for a full 38 game 2020-21 season the a temporary reconstruction before reverting back in 2021-22 might be a necessary

Of course if somehow we can watch football again in June then that's different

 

Edited by topcat(The most tip top)

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7 minutes ago, topcat(The most tip top) said:

What we don't know at the moment is whether August or even September will be impacted

If there's not going to be time for a full 38 game 2020-21 season the a temporary reconstruction might be a great idea before reverting back in 2021-22

I'd be more open to it if it's temporary.

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38 minutes ago, Dons_1988 said:

I'd be more open to it if it's temporary.

If it were being done to facilitate a shorter season in 20/21 then it would have to be temporary otherwise we'd be playing shortened season in 21/22 for no reason.

If we, for example,  moved to an 8 team top flight with teams playing 4 times (28 games) or a 16 team top flight with teams playing twice (30 games) that might be perfect for  20/21 season that starts in mid September but clearly wouldn't be a long term solution

Of course if either of them worked particularly well then they might strengthen the case for a 10 team (36 game)  or 18 team (38 game) format at some point in the future or the experience might put people off league reconstruction for good and finally make the split popular

Lots of people have suggested solutions which may or may not be good ones but the real problem here is that we don't actually know the problem yet

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by topcat(The most tip top)

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35 minutes ago, bennett said:

Anyone able to CnP this, apparently I've reached my free views limit.

 

 

 

WHEN Stewart Gilmour of St Mirren and Roy MacGregor of Ross County voted against league reconstruction proposals back in 2013 they were subjected to a furious backlash from their fellow club owners.

Now Gilmour believes the SPFL could receive exactly the same negative reaction - if they change the league set-up just to address the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Expanding the Ladbrokes Premiership to 14 teams next season if the 2019/20 campaign is unable to be completed because of the Covid-19 outbreak – so that bottom-placed Hearts aren’t relegated and runaway Championship leaders Dundee United are promoted – has been mooted.

A blueprint entitled “SPFL Reorganisation: Accommodating the premature end of season 19/20 and creating a manageable structure for the future of Scottish football”, which is believed to have been drawn up one of the 42 senior clubs, has been circulated.

But Gilmour, who is still a season ticket holder at the Simple Digital Arena despite handing over control at St Mirren back in 2016, is adamant that forcing through a new structure as a result of the current crisis would badly damage the credibility of the top flight.

The one-time SPL board member, who rejected a move to a 12-12-18 set-up that would have seen the top two divisions split into three leagues of eight after 22 matches had been played, isn’t opposed to change.

The former businessman, like so many involved in the Scottish game, is convinced a 16 team Premiership is the best way forward. However, he is against making a knee-jerk reaction to the current situation. He fears doing so would make our flagship tournament a laughing stock.

“Doing it just to try and save Hearts would be a joke,” said Gilmour. “If they are going to do it they should do it right. But just using reconstruction for one reason – to keep one of the clubs up - would be farcical and make a mockery of the whole thing.

“If you want to change, change. That’s fine. I am not against change by any manner of means. But they would be doing it for the wrong reasons. They are not changing it for the future of football, for the benefit of football.”

The new 14 team Premiership that has been floated would see the top tier split after 26 games and the bottom six sides join up with the top two teams in the Championship – which is similar to the set-up that Gilmour rejected.

“I am not particularly keen on that model,” he said. “If we change we should go to a top 16. There are 16 genuine full-time football clubs in Scotland. A 16 team top flight would give them protection and mean there is a further distribution of money.

“But I know Celtic in particular will not like that. All the commercial income, the TV money, is split on a percentage basis depending on where you are in the league. If you add more teams you are going to take the percentages down.”

Gilmour feels for those who run Premiership sides – including Gordon Scott at St Mirren – because of the dire predicament they have suddenly found themselves in as a result of the unprecedented shutdown of Scottish football.

Having balanced the books at his beloved Paisley club for many years, he knows exactly what serious financial difficulties not having any competitive football will create and can understand why so many directors are desperate to receive clarity on what is going to happen in the Premiership going forward.

But he reckons it is important the SPFL bide their time and allow themselves to be guided by both the government and medical experts - and stressed the possibility of the final Premiership matches being played in the summer shouldn’t be discounted yet.

“They either complete the season and then go into next season and play an awful lot of midweek games – which will be really tough on the European teams who will have to fit all these games in - or they call it to a halt,” said Gilmour.

“But I think it is too early to make a decision. I would be sitting for a while. I wouldn’t make a decision now. They should wait and see what happens.

“You never know, we could be back by the end of April and the league could be finished by everybody playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. It could get completed. But that is optimistic based on what the medical experts are telling us.”

UEFA will hold a conference call with their 55 member associations today and Gilmour is hoping they finally take some responsibility and try to guide European football through this crisis.

“I actually thought UEFA might have come in and given more guidelines for European leagues because they want to know who’s in the European competitions,” he said. “I thought they might have taken a wee bit more of a lead in this. It would appear they haven’t.

“They should have taken a multi-national stance, a European stance, and said: ‘Right guys, if we can’t finish the leagues, if we can’t get up and running by x date, by the end of May, by the end of June, bang, that’s it, it is as it is’. If it’s the same in every country, that’s fine.

“They want to lead football when it suits them, they don’t want to lead football when it doesn’t suit them.”

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37 minutes ago, bennett said:

Anyone able to CnP this, apparently I've reached my free views limit.

 

 

Stewart Gilmour: Expanding the Premiership to 14 clubs just save Hearts would be a joke

WHEN Stewart Gilmour of St Mirren and Roy MacGregor of Ross County voted against league reconstruction proposals back in 2013 they were subjected to a furious backlash from their fellow club owners.

Now Gilmour believes the SPFL could receive exactly the same negative reaction - if they change the league set-up just to address the issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Expanding the Ladbrokes Premiership to 14 teams next season if the 2019/20 campaign is unable to be completed because of the Covid-19 outbreak – so that bottom-placed Hearts aren’t relegated and runaway Championship leaders Dundee United are promoted – has been mooted.

A blueprint entitled “SPFL Reorganisation: Accommodating the premature end of season 19/20 and creating a manageable structure for the future of Scottish football”, which is believed to have been drawn up one of the 42 senior clubs, has been circulated.

But Gilmour, who is still a season ticket holder at the Simple Digital Arena despite handing over control at St Mirren back in 2016, is adamant that forcing through a new structure as a result of the current crisis would badly damage the credibility of the top flight.

 

The one-time SPL board member, who rejected a move to a 12-12-18 set-up that would have seen the top two divisions split into three leagues of eight after 22 matches had been played, isn’t opposed to change.

The former businessman, like so many involved in the Scottish game, is convinced a 16 team Premiership is the best way forward. However, he is against making a knee-jerk reaction to the current situation. He fears doing so would make our flagship tournament a laughing stock.

“Doing it just to try and save Hearts would be a joke,” said Gilmour. “If they are going to do it they should do it right. But just using reconstruction for one reason – to keep one of the clubs up - would be farcical and make a mockery of the whole thing.

“If you want to change, change. That’s fine. I am not against change by any manner of means. But they would be doing it for the wrong reasons. They are not changing it for the future of football, for the benefit of football.”

The new 14 team Premiership that has been floated would see the top tier split after 26 games and the bottom six sides join up with the top two teams in the Championship – which is similar to the set-up that Gilmour rejected.

“I am not particularly keen on that model,” he said. “If we change we should go to a top 16. There are 16 genuine full-time football clubs in Scotland. A 16 team top flight would give them protection and mean there is a further distribution of money.

“But I know Celtic in particular will not like that. All the commercial income, the TV money, is split on a percentage basis depending on where you are in the league. If you add more teams you are going to take the percentages down.”

Gilmour feels for those who run Premiership sides – including Gordon Scott at St Mirren – because of the dire predicament they have suddenly found themselves in as a result of the unprecedented shutdown of Scottish football.

Having balanced the books at his beloved Paisley club for many years, he knows exactly what serious financial difficulties not having any competitive football will create and can understand why so many directors are desperate to receive clarity on what is going to happen in the Premiership going forward.

But he reckons it is important the SPFL bide their time and allow themselves to be guided by both the government and medical experts - and stressed the possibility of the final Premiership matches being played in the summer shouldn’t be discounted yet.

“They either complete the season and then go into next season and play an awful lot of midweek games – which will be really tough on the European teams who will have to fit all these games in - or they call it to a halt,” said Gilmour.

“But I think it is too early to make a decision. I would be sitting for a while. I wouldn’t make a decision now. They should wait and see what happens.

“You never know, we could be back by the end of April and the league could be finished by everybody playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday. It could get completed. But that is optimistic based on what the medical experts are telling us.”

UEFA will hold a conference call with their 55 member associations today and Gilmour is hoping they finally take some responsibility and try to guide European football through this crisis.

“I actually thought UEFA might have come in and given more guidelines for European leagues because they want to know who’s in the European competitions,” he said. “I thought they might have taken a wee bit more of a lead in this. It would appear they haven’t.

“They should have taken a multi-national stance, a European stance, and said: ‘Right guys, if we can’t finish the leagues, if we can’t get up and running by x date, by the end of May, by the end of June, bang, that’s it, it is as it is’. If it’s the same in every country, that’s fine.

“They want to lead football when it suits them, they don’t want to lead football when it doesn’t suit them.”

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Gilmour criticising UEFA for not being certain about how to deal with a hugely uncertain future seems a little unfair but very much in the spirit of the times

Edited by topcat(The most tip top)

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You have to remember that Stewart Gilmour is a bit thick and also generally full of shit.

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29 minutes ago, topcat(The most tip top) said:

Gilmour criticising UEFA for not being certain about how to deal with a hugely uncertain future seems a little unfair but very much in the spirit of the times

I think it is fair to be critical of UEFA who had a meeting and came away with advie to finish the season by the end of June. That idea seemed to be wishiful thinking and exposed as almost impossible days later.

Remember every major league is in much the same position with around 10 rounds of fixtures to complete as well as National Cups to finish so looking for some continuing guidance from UEFA doesn't seem like too much to ask.

Financial support would also be nice. Maybe UEFA can borrow against future Champions League and other European tv rights to provide financial support to member associations

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Anyone who thinks that 'the current system works well' simply hasn't been watching the precipitous decline in the standard of football and strength of teams in the second tier, nor has been paying attention to the financial results in that bin fire of a division. Dundee United's last recorded loss was £3.7 million. Dundee's (for their campaign in the top flight) was £1.8 million. Inverness lost £892k. Dunfermline reported 'substantial losses' at the end of last season and have slashed their budgets accordingly, while even Morton managed to rack up an eye-watering loss of £575k before a debt write-off deal. Meanwhile, in the third tier, Falkirk lost £700k as a result of their hilarious relegation campaign and Raith lost £600k between 2017-2019. None of this is even remotely sustainable.

The 12 team setup might work just fine for top flight clubs, who are for the most part financially stable now, but in the absence of a credible second tier to refresh the top flight with non-joke outfits then the baw is burst. The current Scottish Championship is a claustrophobic mess of teams flipping from trying to win promotion in August to staving off relegation to the seaside leagues in November on an annual basis. There can be no medium-term planning and there are mass squad upheavals every summer: the standard is abysmal as a result. A 14 team league structure at all national levels would allow these clubs to incrementally improve while living within their means for a change, while not being immediately embroiled in a relegation dogfight after losing two games on the spin.

Edited by vikingTON

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Not really much wrong with what he's saying tbh, rushing into this would probably see us fcuk it up.

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38 minutes ago, craigkillie said:

You have to remember that Stewart Gilmour is a bit thick and also generally full of shit.

His argument that there are '16 genuine full-time teams' and so a 16-team top flight should be in place is particularly moronic. Unless he's also advocating a franchise system with no relegation, that does nothing to protect those 16 clubs: as those who get relegated would be plunged into the cash-strapped, part-time diddy oblivion setup that he arrogantly thinks is the natural level of all other Scottish football clubs. And given that his own team stank the place out and finished 19th in the Scottish setup just three years ago, there's no guarantee that the 'top 16' club would get back up after one season either. 

There are currently 22 entirely full-time clubs (with Airdrie being IIRC a hybrid full-time/part-time setup) in Scottish football. There are more than enough then to have two reasonably strong leagues with full-time squads alongside the best-run part time teams. A top 16 does not even remotely achieve this but two leagues of 14 would actually be just about right in terms of numbers.

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39 minutes ago, Jim McLean's Ghost said:

I think it is fair to be critical of UEFA who had a meeting and came away with advie to finish the season by the end of June. That idea seemed to be wishiful thinking and exposed as almost impossible days later.

Remember every major league is in much the same position with around 10 rounds of fixtures to complete as well as National Cups to finish so looking for some continuing guidance from UEFA doesn't seem like too much to ask.

Financial support would also be nice. Maybe UEFA can borrow against future Champions League and other European tv rights to provide financial support to member associations

Their stuff about finishing by June was always advisory, even if some people didn't advise it as such, and they were always very clear about it being open to review again. UEFA are generally providing guidance that they would prefer leagues and cups to be played to a finish whenever that may be.

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1 hour ago, virginton said:

Anyone who thinks that 'the current system works well' simply hasn't been watching the precipitous decline in the standard of football and strength of teams in the second tier, nor has been paying attention to the financial results in that bin fire of a division. Dundee United's last recorded loss was £3.7 million. Dundee's (for their campaign in the top flight) was £1.8 million. Inverness lost £892k. Dunfermline reported 'substantial losses' at the end of last season and have slashed their budgets accordingly, while even Morton managed to rack up an eye-watering loss of £575k before a debt write-off deal. Meanwhile, in the third tier, Falkirk lost £700k as a result of their hilarious relegation campaign and Raith lost £600k between 2017-2019. None of this is even remotely sustainable.

The 12 team setup might work just fine for top flight clubs, who are for the most part financially stable now, but in the absence of a credible second tier to refresh the top flight with non-joke outfits then the baw is burst. The current Scottish Championship is a claustrophobic mess of teams flipping from trying to win promotion in August to staving off relegation to the seaside leagues in November on an annual basis. There can be no medium-term planning and there are mass squad upheavals every summer: the standard is abysmal as a result. A 14 team league structure at all national levels would allow these clubs to incrementally improve while living within their means for a change, while not being immediately embroiled in a relegation dogfight after losing two games on the spin.

I'm not even sure the 12-team setup works that well for some of those 12.

The cliff edge of relegation is so potentially catastrophic for the perennial strugglers such as us, that we end up having to hedge our bets quite massively when it comes for forward planning, etc. We handed out a fair few two-year deals in the summer/January, the first time for a while we've done that: and it's still come pretty fucking close to backfiring.

The smallest four clubs in the top flight face the same planning issues that you mention affect those in tier 2. Obviously Hearts have chucked themselves into the mix this season, but you can't rely on that sort of incompetence in a typical season.

100% agree with your post, but especially the bit in bold. 

Thing is: it's not about avoiding relegation. St Mirren would still struggle in a 14-team league and I'm comfortable with that. It's about not making relegation a fucking financial and footballing abyss.

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Relegation is (or should be) much less of an abyss than it used to be under the old SPL/SFL merger - that was one of the reasons the lower end SPL clubs at the time were happy to push for it. In the final season before the merger, the SFL1 champions got £68k in prize money, while 12th in the SPL got £720k.

Last season, Ross County got £562k in prize money for winning the Championship and Dundee got £1.125m for finishing bottom of the Premiership. Prize money is up across the board, and more importantly the relative gap between the two divisions has dramatically reduced. Even the bottom club in the Championship got £175k last season.

The reason it is such an "abyss" is because, as VT pointed out, Championship clubs continue to spend beyond even these much greater means in a push to gain promotion. It's not clear to me exactly how much that would change if we moved to a 14 or even 16 team league though - I have a feeling the clubs outside of it would still be chucking more money than they can afford at trying to gain promotion.

Edited by craigkillie

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1 hour ago, craigkillie said:

Their stuff about finishing by June was always advisory, even if some people didn't advise it as such, and they were always very clear about it being open to review again. UEFA are generally providing guidance that they would prefer leagues and cups to be played to a finish whenever that may be.

So their sole contribution has been some bad advice. And you wonder why some people are asking for the people paid to lead European football actually do some leading.

It does seem like UEFA have announced they expect this season to be completed and won't be scrapping this season's competitions. That is a start in actually making decisions

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/european/champions-league-coronavirus-uefa-europa-league-a9439381.html

It looks like UEFA are going to push for everything to be played behind closed doors and finished ASAP.  They will not be keen to wait for too long because they will want the next season finished in time for their show piece Euro 2021.

It does seem that they are recognising the financial strain on many small clubs across Europe. It remains to be seen if they can come up with a financial solution that can keep clubs going.  A delayed start to next season is going to also delay season ticket money. And that will have major impacts on the viability of clubs across Europe.

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1 hour ago, virginton said:

Anyone who thinks that 'the current system works well' simply hasn't been watching the precipitous decline in the standard of football and strength of teams in the second tier, nor has been paying attention to the financial results in that bin fire of a division. Dundee United's last recorded loss was £3.7 million. Dundee's (for their campaign in the top flight) was £1.8 million. Inverness lost £892k. Dunfermline reported 'substantial losses' at the end of last season and have slashed their budgets accordingly, while even Morton managed to rack up an eye-watering loss of £575k before a debt write-off deal. Meanwhile, in the third tier, Falkirk lost £700k as a result of their hilarious relegation campaign and Raith lost £600k between 2017-2019. None of this is even remotely sustainable.

The 12 team setup might work just fine for top flight clubs, who are for the most part financially stable now, but in the absence of a credible second tier to refresh the top flight with non-joke outfits then the baw is burst. The current Scottish Championship is a claustrophobic mess of teams flipping from trying to win promotion in August to staving off relegation to the seaside leagues in November on an annual basis. There can be no medium-term planning and there are mass squad upheavals every summer: the standard is abysmal as a result. A 14 team league structure at all national levels would allow these clubs to incrementally improve while living within their means for a change, while not being immediately embroiled in a relegation dogfight after losing two games on the spin.

A bigger division doesn't eliminate the prospect of clubs panicked about dropping a division or chasing promotion. The gulf between the leagues would be greater (probably more in line with what we had pre the redistribution in the SPFL merger) which would again incentivise teams chasing to go up or stay down. The competition for promotion/relegation isn't necessarily going to include less teams. The full-time teams in Scotland outwith the Old Firm, Edinburgh and Aberdeen aren't really that drastically different in size, fans get into crowdwanks a lot but we all see Hamilton and Livingston competing with others, it's still conceivable that a 16 team league could have 6 or 7 clubs looking over their shoulder. I'm not really convinced those pressures to spend for promotion/safety are eliminated by it - I don't know how we could do that apart from just dumping all the part-time teams and doing a one tier set-up.

I'm also not that convinced that's where the sustainability problem across the board comes from tbh. I think it's more down to teams banking on some sort of overdraft facility from shareholders and poor decision making with that safety net. As mental as some losses you see in Scottish Football are, it's rare to actually see a club go extinct and the people attracted to invest in our level of football either seem to be well aware of the losses they will see or utterly batshit delusional and dodgy (which is usually where the real problems come from).

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