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Apr 15, 2013

Scottish reconstruction plans defeated

St Mirren and Ross County have voted against the Scottish league reconstruction proposals.

Scottish Premier League clubs voted on the plans on Monday, with an 11-1 majority required for them to be passed. Had that happened, a vote among lower-league clubs was due to have taken place on Friday.

However, with the two SPL clubs voting against, the proposals have been defeated.

The plans were for a 12-12-18 league structure. At the halfway point in the season, the teams in the top two divisions would split into three groups of eight, with the 'middle eight' having their points reset in their new mini-league.

The plans were described as "convoluted" by Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir when they were agreed in principle in January.

St Mirren had been in favour of a larger, 14-team division and said last week that the proposals should not be considered "a take-it-or-leave-it situation". Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson, however, had insisted: "It's this or nothing else."

Ahead of Monday's meeting, St Mirren chairman Stewart Gilmour said: "I don't know until we get in there, but I hope we can have some form of compromise.

"One must stand with what one thinks and feels with one's heart and one's head. However, I do think there's a way forward to get into one body, a way forward for an all-through distribution model, and I'd like to work hard towards that."

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne broke the news that the proposals had failed after the meeting, and voiced frustration with his Saints counterpart.

Milne said: "One club in particular you would need to ask just exactly what their agenda is - St Mirren. What was on the table for everyone to consider today was back the plan, an opportunity to move Scottish football forward.

"If it doesn't deliver to the extent that ten clubs genuinely believe it will deliver, then the opportunity is there to re-look at it down the line within two to three years. It's the status quo. The offer of changing the reconstruction rules was rejected by the two clubs, which no one can see the logic behind."

Hearts managing director David Southern said St Mirren had rejected the offer of moving future league structure votes to a 9-3 voting system after they had voiced concerns about the 11-1 system, which had been put in place to provide Rangers and Celtic with a veto on major issues.

Southern said: "We were very close. The concession was a significant concession. All 11 clubs were led to believe the stumbling block was the 11-1 vote."

In a statement, the SPL confirmed that both St Mirren and Ross County had voted against the proposed change to the voting system, saying it had been a "major and progressive" change.

The statement expressed the SPL board's "deep disappointment that proposals to benefit the entire game in Scotland have been blocked''.

Chairman Ralph Topping, who steps down from his post in July, said: "The proposals foundered on the opposition of two clubs.

"The package involved concessions from all clubs and was for the betterment of Scottish football as a whole." He added: "Scottish football needs to change."

A Scottish Football League statement said: The board of the Scottish Football League will meet on Thursday to review where we are, and a further statement may be appropriate at that time.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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