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Name Neil Doncaster
Gender Male
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Job president of SPFL
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Org Scottish Professional League

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,” he said. “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