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SPFL CHIEF OPENS UP ON ‘DISTRACTIONS’ AND ‘SCAPEGOATING’ IN VOTE ROW

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SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan has talked about “distractions, scapegoating and sideshows” as he addressed the friction brought about by the recent vote that called a halt to the three divisions outwith the Premiership.

The Hampden chiefs also have the power to veto the top flight if it is impossible to continue the campaign while the game in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Celtic, of course, are on the brink of being awarded their ninth successive title as they were leading the league by 13 points with eight games to play when it went into cold storage.

An EGM has been arranged for May 12 after interim chairman Douglas Park and the Ibrox hierarchy demanded an inquiry into the process of the SPFL resolution. Clubs are set to vote on whether it should take place.

MacLennan answered a variety of questions in a lengthy open letter and Q&A to the 42 member clubs and made it known that eight of the nine members on the SPFL board are against such an investigation.

The solitary member of the board not in agreement is the Govan club’s managing director Stewart Robertson.

MacLennan, speaking The Scotsman, said: “Eight of the nine members of your Board of Directors believe the demand for such an open-ended, hugely time consuming and expensive investigation, carried out by a senior QC, to be wholly unnecessary, inappropriate and contrary to the interests of the Company.”

He added: “Ultimately, however, it is for you, the member clubs of the SPFL, to decide whether you wish the time of our staff and Board members, and your money, to be spent on the exercise now sought by Hearts, Rangers and Stranraer, without Rangers having made available to the Company or to SPFL clubs any of the evidence which they claim is in their possession.

“You are now being invited, by each of them, to commit the SPFL Limited to uncapped expenditure on an investigation, without defined boundaries, into the SPFL Board and its Executive team, as well as a range of matters related to a resolution which achieved a 80% plus agreed return. All at a time when we have had no detail or evidence whatsoever of what it is the directors, appointed by you, and our senior employees are alleged to have done ‘wrong’.

“At this hugely challenging time, distractions, scapegoating and sideshows are our enemy. We currently have a very small executive team comprising only five senior members of staff who are working tirelessly in the interests of Scottish football. Two of them are the subject of unexplained calls for their suspension.”

The SPFL commissioned an independent investigation by Deloitte into the SPFL resolution and the controversy of Dundee’s vote.

The Tayside outfit apparently indicated they would vote against the proposal, but they missed the 5pm Friday deadline. They agreed with the resolution five days later and activated the move to shut down the three divisions and hand the titles to Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers.

At the same time, Partick Thistle lost their Championship status and Stranraer dropped into League One.

Speaking of the probe into the resolution that cleared the SPFL, MacLennan added: “There has been some ill-informed speculation that this was a superficial exercise, and I therefore feel compelled to provide some facts.

“Deloitte undertook a thorough and detailed examination into email records, telephone logs, text messages and other messaging tools used by the SPFL, as well as conducting fact-finding interviews of SPFL personnel involved in the process surrounding Dundee FC’s return, and engaging with the third party that operates the SPFL email system.

“This was not something we entered into lightly, but we felt it was essential, given the seriousness of the allegations made against senior figures in the SPFL.

“As your independent, non-executive chairman, I am entirely satisfied with the rigorous process that your Board undertook in putting the SPFL directors written resolution to members. It was the product of several weeks of intensive work – using the best medical, scientific, governmental and legal advice to devise a way forward for the game in an unprecedented set of circumstances.”

END GAME: SPFL BOSSES FIRE IBROX WARNING

 
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