Can the SPFL placate the Premiership Six and survive review row?

Can the SPFL placate the Premiership Six and survive review row?

Can the SPFL placate the Premiership Six and survive review row?

When asked why he had overseen so much success at Celtic and how he had been able to enjoy such longevity in the Parkhead hot seat, JOCK Stein responded in an irreverent manner.

“The secret of being a good manager is to keep the six players who hate you away from the five who are undecided,”

Stein stated, his tongue firmly in his cheek.

Neil Doncaster, the SPFL’s chief executive, and Murdoch MacLennan, the organisation’s chairman,

may have to take a similar approach with Premiership clubs in the coming days to weather the latest storm.

That their management of an independent inquiry of the governance of the governing body resulted in “serious concerns” being expressed about, er, the governance of the governing body does not bode well for the couple, even though they have now dismissed them.

The various claims made in the joint statement issued by Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston, Rangers, St Johnstone, and St Mirren on Thursday morning were damning.

The sextet expressed concerns about the independence and transparency of a report commissioned when the SPFL was forced to apologise to Parks of Hamilton and Rangers and contribute to their legal costs after losing a long-running dispute over the cinch sponsorship deal in July of last year.

Can the SPFL placate the Premiership Six and survive review row?
Can the SPFL placate the Premiership Six and survive review row?

They said the management team altered the draft report they received before distributing it to board members. They claimed that only one member club had any involvement in the investigation other than current or past board members. They expressed their concern that, despite repeated requests, the report had not to be distributed to the 42 member clubs who had paid for it.

There was also criticism of the SPFL statement, which they said was issued last month “without the approval or knowledge” of either the board or the member clubs.

MacLennan had stated that he was “reassured but not complacent” with the findings reached by independent auditors Henderson Loggie after a three-month assessment that included “detailed questionnaires and interviews with 15 stakeholders.” The six clubs, however, believed that this “did not reflect the full findings of the report”.

The SPFL eventually responded to the bombshell missive last night, issuing a brief 57-word statement stating that the letter they received “contained a number of factual inaccuracies which have now been addressed with those clubs”.

So, was it all a silly misunderstanding? Did they misjudge the situation and act prematurely? Has peace been restored? Will everyone come together and work as one to improve the game in this country? Don’t hold your breath. There has long been concern about how the SPFL functions.

The fact that the six Premiership clubs felt obligated to express their concerns implies that there are severe challenges with communication and approachability. Couldn’t someone have taken up the phone and provided some clarification? It all sounds a little off.

It is probably unsurprising that this examination has resulted in increased acrimony and distrust.

Shortly after MacLennan stated his “delight” that the tight stand-off had been resolved, it was reported that James MacDonald of Ross County and Chris McKay of Celtic had been named to the sub-committee that would oversee the procedure.

Ross County and Celtic are not particularly well-known for being change agents.

The fact that the SPFL stated that the inquiry will be conducted out “under a specific remit” and “within the context of current articles,

rules, and regulations” raised red flags in certain quarters early on.

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