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Jun 13, 2013

SFL 'taken over' in Scottish merger plan

The Scottish Football League has been "taken over" by the Scottish Premier League, the SFL president Jim Ballantyne has said.

On Wednesday, 23 of the 29 SFL clubs - Rangers did not get a vote because they are associate members, having joined as a 'newco' club last summer - opted to approve a merger with the SPL to form a new governing body known as the Scottish Professional Football League.

The changes will also include the adoption of a 12-10-10-10 league structure, with the 11th-placed team in the top flight taking part in play-offs with second-tier teams at the end of the season.

Ballantyne said the vote had brought down the curtain on the SFL and claimed some of those who backed the reforms had done so "with a heavy heart".

"It is a takeover," he said. "We are joining their company, their organisation. They have swallowed us up. We could use nice words about it, but it is a takeover.

"There was a positive vote today regarding yes and no, but a lot of people left the room with a heavy heart.

"It is very sad that the Scottish Football League has had to be a casualty, but unfortunately we were left with one option.

"Did I want to see the end of the Scottish Football League? Absolutely not. Did I want to see football strive forward? Then yes. It will be for others to decide if this step takes us to where we want to go.''

David Longmuir, the SFL chief executive, said there had been misgivings among the clubs that had voted for the move to a single governing body.

But he added: "Nevertheless, a lot of them have seen it for the good of the game - and we all accept that Scottish football is better governed under one roof."

Describing the result as "a means to an end", he said much more needed to be done to secure the future health of the Scottish game.

The process of changing to a single governing body is due to be completed late this month, with a first board meeting of the new organisation taking place on June 27.

"The [vote] decision will lead to the winding up of the Scottish Football League as we currently know it - an organisation that has been the bedrock of our game for 123 years," he said.

"The legacy of the SFL will long be remembered and admired, and we trust the custodians of the new body will continue to work in an open, trustworthy and professional manner at all times for the good of our national game."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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