Hibernian chairman, Rob Petrie, yesterday told BBC Radio Scotland “Integrity is beyond purchase”. It’s incredible to think that we live in times where this is actually news.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone would go about arguing with Rod on this matter. Kilmarnock chairman, Michael Johnston’s recent comment, “The [SPL] clubs are mindful of a sporting integrity aspect but the commercial benefits may outweigh that” offers the alternative view, but the logical conclusion of Petrie’s argument is stark. If integrity of top clubs can be purchased, what about officials, referees and players with bookmaker friends?
We can assume Hibernian will join Celtic in voting against admitting a Newco directly into the SPL, should such a vote occur. Five clubs in total are required to block such a proposal. With Petrie declared against, would Romanov at Hearts vote for Newco? His previous public pronouncements suggest he would relish the opportunity to take on one of the big Glasgow clubs.
Dundee United and Aberdeen are two other clubs under significant supporter pressure. Both teams are also keen to change the 11-1 voting rule, which would be possible without a Newco.
Rangers, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone (through manager Steve Lomas) have all declared in favour of admitting a Newco, I expect Motherwell and St Mirren will do the same. Ross County and Inverness may fancy adding Dundee into next season’s relegation fight instead of Newco but there has been no indication how either club would vote.
The 7th May vote was the best chance of getting Newco provisions voted through. The more time clubs have to consider the decision the more susceptible they will be to supporter lobby.
I am of the view that SPL chief, Neil Doncaster, will not allow himself to become aware if Rangers have a prima facie case to answer as a result of the SPL inquiry into contractual arrangements until after a vote is taken. Deadline for clubs to respond to the inquiry passed over five weeks ago. A simple check of submissions against SPL records is all that is required. Even if each clubs issued an all-clear, the inquiry should have reported.
Doncaster perhaps has no idea of the flood that will come his way soon and wash away all of these questions. His opportunity to act before events overtake him is limited.
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