Scottish league chiefs appeal for calm as Rangers demand answers

AFP
Rangers bid for an independent inquiry into the SPFL failed to gain the support of member clubs (AFP Photo/ANDY BUCHANAN)
Rangers bid for an independent inquiry into the SPFL failed to gain the support of member clubs (AFP Photo/ANDY BUCHANAN)

London (AFP) - Scottish Professional Football League board members pleaded on Tuesday for an end to "recrimination and division" after Rangers sparked a general meeting to propose an independent investigation into a vote on how to end the season.

The 42 clubs will cast ballots on May 12 on whether to instigate an external review of the circumstances surrounding a controversial vote to end the seasons in the lower three divisions.

The same resolution also gives the SPFL board the power to end the Premiership campaign if it deems that the matches cannot be played.

That would see Celtic crowned champions for a record-equalling ninth season in a row on points-per-game as they led Rangers by 13 points when the season was stopped due to the coronavirus crisis.

The resolution to end the Championship, League One and League Two seasons was only passed when Dundee voted in favour, five days after clubs had been asked to cast their ballot.

The Championship side originally planned to reject the resolution, but their emailed vote on April 10 was not received by the SPFL.

An investigation by auditors Deloitte revealed "no evidence of improper behaviour".

Rangers have called for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster over the process and say they have evidence from a whistleblower that raises serious questions over the SPFL's handling of the affair.

A group of SPFL board members said in an open letter to clubs that it was dealing with a "fast-moving set of circumstances".

"It's an unenviable job, and we are sure the many fair-minded people in Scottish football fully understand this," it said.

"All of the executive team retain our full support and admiration. Further recrimination and division will only decrease our chances of playing football matches in Scotland any time soon. The players, fans and officials deserve our best collective efforts."

Rangers will need the backing of 32 of the 42 member clubs for an independent investigation.

Football in Scotland has been suspended until at least June 10 but there are hopes the Premiership season could still restart behind closed doors if given government approval.

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