Doncaster urges clubs to respect result of a power struggle

‘I hope that everyone respects the decision and we can move forward together’: SPFL chief Neil Doncaster urges Rangers and Hearts to accept the result of a bitter power struggle

  • Rangers wanted independent probe into league’s plan to end season early
  • But the resolution ended in a resounding defeat at an EGM on Tuesday
  • Rangers, Hearts and Partick Thistle will now consider their legal options

Neil Doncaster has urged Rangers and Hearts to respect the result of a bitter power struggle between disaffected clubs and the SPFL.

A Rangers resolution calling for an independent investigation into the league’s plan to end the lower league season, crown Celtic champions and relegate Hearts slid to a resounding defeat at a EGM on Tuesday.

Counter-signed by Tynecastle owner Ann Budge and Stranraer the Ibrox motion attracted 13 votes, with two clubs abstaining.

Neil Doncaster has urged Rangers and Hearts to respect the result of a bitter power struggle

Effectively a vote of confidence in Doncaster’s tenure, the chief executive faced a Rangers call for his suspension, but secured a thumping 70 per cent majority after 27 of the 42 senior clubs voted the resolution down.

Rangers, Hearts and Partick Thistle will now consider their legal options. Admitting the whole process had been ‘bruising’, however, the Englishman vowed to oversee a ‘healing of wounds’ and called on the disaffected clubs to work with him on overcoming the existential threat to Scottish football’s future.

‘I think it’s important that all of us now reflect on what the members overall decided,’ he told Sportsmail.

‘I hope that everyone respects the decision made by the membership today and that we all do what we can to move forward together.

‘We operate in a democracy and the 42 clubs had an opportunity to give a very clear steer today as to what they wanted going forward.

‘The resolution needed 75 per cent support be approved but in the end fewer than one third of all clubs voted in favour.

‘I think that is an emphatic result which we must use as the basis for reconciliation and saving our game.

‘I appreciate that there is a need for a healing of wounds.

‘This has been a bruising process for everyone and I think it’s incumbent on everyone involved in the process to consider the language used and to work on rebuilding relationships which have been severely tested in previous weeks.’

Rangers, Hearts and Partick Thistle will now consider their legal options

Criticised for the administration of a league resolution on the climax of the league season and the tone of the communications justifying the move Doncaster claimed from the start that an independent investigation would be time-consuming and unnecessary – but promised to examine how the league handled things.

‘It’s incumbent on all of us to look at things we could have done better or differently. All of us, myself and the board included, should do the same.

‘But with today’s result there is now an opportunity to move forward and unite to tackle an existential crisis for the game.

‘Those are words which, even a few months ago, would have seemed outlandish.

‘But that’s what this is. And unless we are united and working together to get the game back up and running then we are going to struggle.

‘It’s absolutely vitally important that we all think about ways that we can enable that healing process to start and move forward together.’

Hamilton’s Les Gray and Celtic’s Peter Lawwell launched vocal appeals to clubs to shelf the squabbling and focus instead on the very real crisis caused by the loss of income since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Insisting recent weeks have been a distraction from the quest to get Scottish football back up and running again in time for a new £125million Sky Sports contract kicking in at the beginning of August and a new five year Betfred Cup contract with Premier Sports Doncaster added: ‘Time is of the essence and there is a relatively short space of time to plan,to get players back to training and get games up and running.’

‘Talks with the Scottish Government now move to how we can safely resume and all of our time and energy needs to be focussed on that.

‘I think it’s well understood that Scottish football relies on income from fans through turnstiles far more than it relies on income from broadcasting and it’s vitally important that we all do what we can to get fans back in stadia safely.’

Premiership clubs will now look to call the top tier based on current standings next week. UEFA have given leagues around Europe a deadline of May 25 to outline plans to finish the current campaign.

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