September 1, 2014

Club Statement – League Reconstruction

Stadium TourFurther to yesterday’s SPL Club meeting held at Hampden Park, St Mirren FC is extremely disappointed by the comments of certain clubs’ representatives and some journalists towards our club and seeks to clarify our position.

We made it perfectly clear in our statement issued last week that we were against the league structure proposed and also that of the proposed 11-1 voting system. It would appear that certain individuals have tried to move this round to being only an objection to the voting structure. Please read our statement of last Monday (see below*) for clarity of this. Both of these items were our primary issues with the proposals.

The following resolutions are described as Qualified Resolutions in the proposed rules and require an 11-1 vote to change:-

- Retaining home gate receipts
- League restructuring
- Distribution model of finance
- Squad size
- Under 21 rules
- Season start date
- Numbers of home live TV matches
- Salary capping

You will probably be aware that during the meeting a proposal to change one of these Resolutions, namely the League Restructuring section, was brought to the table by two clubs who suggested reducing this to a 75% majority ie 9-3.

As this was only part of the Qualified Resolutions this was not acceptable to St Mirren. The items in this section require to be changed completely to a 9-3 level of voting, excepting the retention of home gate receipts which would be totally unfair to the larger clubs. We are also happy to contract that no club shall have more live home TV matches than anyone else.

This democratic set up in the SPL is one that has been in place since its inception and has proved not to be fit for purpose, hence our objection to  it. It is ironic that this is what has stopped the proposal going forward.

However, clubs have the right to vote as they see fit and directors have a legal responsibility to look after the interests of their club, a criticism that appears to be directed towards St Mirren. It should be highlighted that Aberdeen could have indeed changed this voting structure last year had they seen fit to vote with their fellow clubs. That is their decision and we respect that, however before being critical of others they should possibly take stock of their previous decision not to allow this change to go forward.

While on the subject of criticism, we find it hard to accept other Football Clubs telling us how to vote on football matters, or indeed questioning our motives. It is the right of all Clubs to make their own decisions and other Clubs should respect this.

We are being accused of self interest. Is that the self interest in consulting with our supporters and staff prior to the board making this decision? If so, we are guilty. We are very grateful for all the messages of support we have received not just from our own fans but also from supporters of many other clubs who did not wish this proposal to go ahead. We firmly believe in our heart and in our head that this is the correct decision for Scottish Football.

St Mirren Football Club are still intent on change in Scottish Football within a system for all 42 clubs. We wish to make it very clear that we have no SPL 2 agenda. We believe that that is not the way forward.

It should be noted that at the start of yesterday’s meeting we asked clubs to consider revisiting the proposal before the meeting. Our suggestion was that we looked at the following compromise;

- One League Body
- All Through Financial Distribution Model
- Introducing a Play Off Place
- A Voting Structure of 75% of the Top League Clubs having to agree.
(Subject to an agreement re home gates and the number of home live TV matches)

Some clubs were willing to discuss this and hopefully come to a compromise.

Regrettably this was rejected by a majority of clubs who wished to only stick to the all or nothing proposal.

There have been suggestions of influence on our Board by other clubs. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Board of St Mirren has only the interests of St Mirren and Scottish Football at the centre of their attention.

Finally, St Mirren FC hope that all 42 Clubs can get round the table in the very near future to progress the formation of one league body and the all through financial distribution model as the first steps to finding the best league format to encompass the views of Clubs, supporters, sponsors and all other people involved in Scottish Football.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of St Mirren Football Club

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League Restructure – Statement 8th April 2013*

After a very studied consideration of the Structure, Articles of Association, Rules and Shareholders Agreement, the Board of St Mirren Football Club have decided that they will be unable to support the motion at next Monday’s Meeting of SPL Clubs regarding this proposal for League Reconstruction.

This view has been taken after careful thought regarding this proposal including engagement with fans and the views of our coaching staff.

The principles of a new league structure, single league body and all through distribution model are part of many aspects of this we fully support, however the proposal as presented does not, in our view, move the game forward.

The concept of playing 22 games prior to breaking into three leagues of eight, including the middle eight losing their points gained in the first series of games, is not a system we see as taking the game forward in the long term. You will be aware that other countries have tried this system and have since rejected such a set up.

We also feel that this system is not fair to fans who buy into their club by way of a season ticket, who are then unsure of what they are purchasing. It is also against the basic wishes of the fans for larger leagues as highlighted in all recent fan surveys.

In the proposed rules the voting structure is remaining, in all items that are of importance, an 11-1 vote. In our opinion, this is fundamentally wrong in any structure and is the principle reason why Scottish League Football has not been able to restructure prior to this time, a view St Mirren have held for some time.

The restriction on any change for three years is also very much against our view. When engaging with any new rule book there will always be oversight and anomalies that need to be revised on an annual basis.

An area St Mirren are very uncomfortable with is the lock down on various financial rules. The credibility of Scottish Football has been tarnished badly in recent times by financial mismanagement and the time has come for strong financial rules to be in place.

Another concern to us is the hard line taken by some in certain areas, like season start date, home-grown talent, under-21 rules. This is not an exhaustive list, however we do think these items require negotiation for the betterment of Scottish Football in general.

We also do not accept that this is a take it or leave it situation. We do wish to keep working towards one organisation, an all through distribution model and getting closer to our supporters’ wishes of a larger league, while being fully aware of the commercial and financial pressures of operating a football club.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of St Mirren Football Club