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Jul 11, 2012

SPL may expand

Scottish football's three governing bodies outlined proposals to change the set-up of the club game on Wednesday - including the possibility of expanding the Scottish Premier League to 16 teams.

The Scottish Football Association, Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League are looking at a package of radical reforms that it is hoped will "rejuvenate Scottish football at senior level and safeguard its future".

The proposals were revealed just days before SFL clubs vote on whether or not to accept the Rangers 'newco' into the First or Third Division next season. It is hoped the plans - primarily expanding the top-flight - will assuage some fears and persuade clubs to vote Rangers into the First Division, enabling them to potentially return to the top-flight after just a one-year hiatus.

Regardless of whether or not clubs agree to the plans, it is hoped the changes will be implemented ahead of the 2013-14 season.

"There are a number of options being looked at which involve the restructuring of the league,'' SFA chief executive David Longmuir told Sky Sports. "It is part of a mix that we are looking at, there are others as well that we are looking at.

"Let's be under no illusions, what we are trying to do is take Scottish football forward and to take it forward in a way that excites and interests fans, keeps clubs viable and doesn't lose fans to the game.

"If that involves a number of scenarios regarding bigger leagues, play-offs, better governance and better distribution of finance throughout the game, that is something worth going for.''

Under current plans, the SPL would increase to 14 teams in a year's time, with scope for another two teams to be added prior to a subsequent campaign. Leagues further down the pyramid may also be restructured, with the distribution of revenues and parachute payments also potentially changing.

A joint statement on behalf of the SFA, SPL and SFL has been released to outline the proposals, although it does not include the same level detail as that given to clubs.

It read: "The Scottish FA, the Scottish Premier League and the Scottish Football League have, for the past two years, been involved in a series of discussions at board level with the objective of securing radical and co-ordinated reconstruction of the game in this country.

"Today, we are asking clubs to consider a package of reforms which have the potential to rejuvenate Scottish football at senior level and safeguard its future at a time when uncertainty and fear prevail.

"The proposals are based on five principles previously outlined by the Scottish FA as key to streamlining governance, ensuring greater financial distribution and above all, providing better entertainment, enhanced competition and value for money for supporters.

"Upon agreement by the respective boards, the proposals will be placed before the SPL and SFL clubs for approval, to be activated immediately and phased in over a two-year period."

In the meantime, Dunfermline and Dundee will have to wait until Monday at the latest to see which club will replace Rangers in the SPL for next season.

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