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Neil Doncaster
Gender Male
Ethnic xxxx
Job president of SPFL
Desc xxxx


Org Scottish Professional League

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[Celtic crowned champions and Hearts relegated as Scottish Premiership season is cut short amid coronavirus pandemic] On Friday, Ladbrokes Premiership clubs expressed their clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from Season 2019/20. The SPFL Board met this morning and in line with the express agreement of member clubs in April, the Board determined that League Season 2019/20 and the Ladbrokes Premiership be brought to an end. This decision now enables us to pay out around £7 million in fees to help clubs stay afloat during this incredibly difficult time. We will begin processing these payments immediately. The focus of all those involved in the game will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible. Next season’s Betfred Cup first round group stage is scheduled to begin in mid-July, with coverage from Premier Sports. The 2020/21 League Season in all four of our Divisions is due to commence on 1 August, which coincides with the start of our new and exclusive five-year broadcasting deal with Sky Sports. Nobody should be under any illusion as to how complicated and difficult a challenge it will be to return Scottish football to normality. We will be liaising with Government on the best way forward and working to ensure that all of our 42 clubs are playing football again as soon as humanly possible

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[The SPFL have written to all 42 clubs asking for their views on a proposed permanent move to a 14-10-10-10 league restructure] It is clear there is enough support for a permanent 14-10-10-10 structure to merit a second consultation stage. It’s important to underline this is not a binding vote and is intended only to steer the board on whether to put forward a formal resolution for voting on, or not

2020 06 12 Retrieve

[SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has rejected criticism of the organisation’s role in discussions over restructuring, insisting it has taken the lead on the issue] It’s up to any club to bring forward a proposal at any time, and various clubs have put forward proposals, both related to reconstruction and other issues. Ultimately, if they have support from members, then it’s important that’s voted through. We are taking the lead. We’ve gone out to clubs with a specific structure. We’ve asked them to indicate whether they would support that structure. If sufficient numbers do, then we’ll come back with a resolution. What became clear from the first stage of consultation was that a temporary fix was not going to gain sufficient approval. There was some sympathy for the idea of an expanded Premiership, and that’s the basis on which we’ve gone back to clubs. We’re asking them a very specific question: would you support a 14-10-10-10 structure? If sufficient clubs indicate over the weekend that they are supportive, then that’s what we’ll bring forward.

The only certainty when it comes to divisional structure is that, whatever you have at any moment in time, it is not the right one. People always think that there may be a better structure out there. We’ve had this 12-team Premiership for the better part of 20 years. The split has become something that people are well used to. It provides tight finishes, both at the top and at the bottom, and it’s exciting. Some believe that going to a 14-team format will avoid the perceived unfairness that the relegation of clubs at the end of the season has created. But ultimately it depends on a sufficient numbers of clubs backing it for it to become a reality

I like the idea of creative thinking to help clubs get fans back into stadia, as soon as they safely can. If there are larger stadia out there that are going to help with social distancing, then that can only be part of a very positive solution. The sooner we can get fans back in stadia, the better it will be for everyone. We’ve got a number of really big stadia across Scotland that may be able to be used by clubs, if that’s what they want to do. We don’t yet know what the arrangements might be to enable fans back into stadia, but it’s likely that there’s going to be some form of social distancing required, at least in the early stages. Clearly, the bigger stadia you’ve got to play with, the easier that will be

2020 06 15 Retrieve

[Hearts are understood to be confident they have a legal case following the French courts decision last week to suspend relegation from Ligue 1. Although Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, told Sky Sports News that the situation in France was ‘wholly different’ to the SPFL, because clubs in Scotland voted to end the season while the decision in France was taken at government level] In recent weeks, we’ve been consulting closely with our clubs regarding possible reconstruction and, based on the feedback we received, the board decided to ask all 42 clubs to give their views so that we could have absolute clarity, which we’ve achieved today. Whilst a number of clubs were in favour of a new divisional set-up, the support for it was insufficient and we will now move forward with a fixture programme for Season 2020/21 based on the current 12-10-10-10 structure. Due to the restrictions forced upon us by the coronavirus outbreak, the Championship clubs also voted overwhelmingly to play each other three times next season, rather than four, which enables a later start to the Championship league season. Now that we have a confirmed structure for next season, the SPFL’s fixturing team will begin work on the Premiership fixture list, which will start on the weekend of 1 August, and the Championship fixture list, which will start on the weekend of 17 October

2020 07 03 Retrieve

[Scottish League One to play 27-game 2020/21 season] Following a period of consultation with all League One clubs, they have today formally voted to approve the altered programme for the 2020/21 season. This is positive news and gives clubs a greater level of clarity and, crucially, a target date to aim for. Of course, the safety of players and staff at all of the clubs involved will remain paramount, with these dates still contingent on the continued reduction in the virus’s spread. Now that we know what next season will look like for League One, work will begin on compiling the competition’s fixture list

2020 07 06 Retrieve

[Scottish Premiership clubs could face fixture pile-up] The challenges this year have been compounded by the fact that UEFA have taken a lot of the dates that would ordinarily be available for the outstanding Europa League and Champions League games. We have got the outstanding Scottish Cup semi-finals and final that still need to be plugged in from the season 19-20 into this year, and then we have got the Euros in June next year. All of that has meant that we have not been able to accommodate a winter break this year, and it has been extremely challenging to get all of the fixtures away

We have got just 34 spaces for games this side of the split in April and we have got 33 games to fit in, so if there are any delays due to weather or Scottish Cup replays - whatever it may be - then there is a problem. We have had in the past a situation where clubs have had to play four games in eight days and we certainly hope that won’t be the case this year, but that’s the contingency if it needs to be used

We are in a situation at the moment where we are not even allowed to play friendly games let alone competitive games. We are waiting on Scottish government approval, which will hopefully be forthcoming shortly for both friendly games and then the commencement of competitive matches on August 1. [We are] working with the Scottish government and hopefully getting fans back in as soon as safely possible

2020 07 10 Retrieve

[The Scottish Football Association confirmed the plan which comes in the wake of the First Minister’s announcement of phase three of the route out of the coronavirus crisis] Today’s approvals are a significant step forward for Scottish Premiership clubs and provide the necessary clarity to prepare for the new season. The ability for clubs to arrange and participate in friendly matches is important on and off the field as momentum builds towards what will be a welcome and exciting return to Scottish football starting 1 August