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Rangers' call for independent inquiry into SPFL is defeated as clubs vote overwhelmingly against new resolution at league EGM.

By Craig Christie

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A MOVE to hold an independent inquiry into the SPFL's (Scottish Professional Football League) handling of a crucial league vote has been defeated.


Rangers, Hearts and Stranraer led the call for a probe into how the league conducted last month's vote on a resolution to end the season for the three lower tiers of the SPFL.

Claims were made that some clubs were bullied into accepting the terms of the resolution so they could receive vital league placing payments at a time of financial crisis during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Rangers were understood to be holding evidence which suggested the vote was not carried out properly, and the SPFL subsequently held an EGM today where all 42 clubs would vote on whether or not there should be an inquiry.

The Ibrox club's new resolution was backed by Hearts and Stranraer to take it to the vote. It required at least 75% of votes in each of the three voting sections (Ladbrokes Premiership / Championship / League 1 & 2) to succeed.

However, less than one third of all clubs, just 13 voted in favour, with 27 against and two abstentions.

The SPFL revealed that a total of four Premiership clubs (33%) supported the resolution via a video conference ballot, when nine were needed to vote in favour for it to proceed.

Only one Championship club and eight from Leagues 1 and 2 voted in favour, meaning the resolution was soundly defeated.

League reconstruction proposals were defeated last week and it seems certain that the SPFL will continue next season with the same 42 clubs and an identical structure.

Hearts are set to be relegated from the premiership to the Championship, with Partick Thistle and Stranraer also dropping down a league.

The play-offs system has also been postponed due to the curtailed season, denying Highland league winners Brora and Lowland League champs Kelty an opportunity to try and win a place in League 2 for next term.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said the ballot was concluded with a decisive result and called for clubs to respect the democratic process and unite behind efforts to restart football as soon as could be done safely.

He said: “The last few weeks have been bruising ones for many people in our game.

"Far too many words have been spoken and written which have sown anger and division amongst clubs. That is a matter of the deepest regret to very many people in our game, myself included.

“I know those who proposed this resolution will be disappointed, but I trust that everyone involved, on both sides of this argument, will now respect the clear, democratic and decisive result we have seen today and allow our game to move forward together.

"The overwhelming majority of clubs voted to oppose this resolution and it’s now incumbent on all clubs to put their differences aside, otherwise we will all suffer together.

“I have taken careful note of the concerns expressed by the minority of clubs which voted in favour and when we are back to playing football in a safe environment, I will bring clubs together to discuss the lessons learned.

“Every single one of us understands that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought huge challenges for our game, which we must overcome soon if we are to save all 42 clubs and restart the sport we all love.

“That is a daunting prospect in its own right – one of the gravest our sport has faced and it’s no exaggeration to say that it threatens the very existence of many of the SPFL’s clubs if we get it wrong.

“If Scottish football is to survive this, we simply must unite and use the enormous talents, resources and creativity at our collective disposal to rescue our game.

“Time is short. In reality, we must do everything humanly possible to get games back up and running by the end of July.

“We simply cannot afford the distraction of further infighting or legal challenges.

“I’m sure we can all agree that the quicker we get back to playing football, the better.”

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