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Dave King calls for more balance in Scottish football after Peter Lawwell exit

Peter Lawwell File Photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

Dave King believes Peter Lawwell’s Celtic exit offers the chance to restore balance to Hampden’s corridors of power.

But the former Rangers chairman does not think that means Ibrox chiefs should be rushing to fill the vacuum left by his departure.

Critics of the outgoing Hoops chief executive have long suspected Lawwell has been the man really pulling the strings behind the scenes in Scottish football.

But all that is set to change this summer as he is replaced by the Scottish Rugby Union’s Dominic McKay.

Rangers will see this as an opportunity to claw back the influence they lost in the wake of the Light Blues’ financial collapse.

However, King – who stepped down from the Ibrox board last year – believes it would be better if an outsider with no links to Scotland’s major powers was brought in to oversee the game’s governance.

Asked if Lawwell’s departure made it a good time to introduce more independence into Scottish football, King – who remains Gers’ biggest individual shareholder – said: “I very much do so.

“A lot of these things are to do with personal relationships so someone coming in from the outside who is not a football man (McKay) will never exercise the same influence Peter Lawwell did.

“So I do think in my view it’s a positive change for football in general.

“Ideally, I think some of these bodies should be more neutral than they are but it’s never going to happen that way because clubs are supporting people in and influence moves from time to time.

“We have been on the wrong end of it for a while – but we’ve also been on the right end of it for a while. We had our runs where we dominated some of these committees too.

“The difference is we were just missing for so many years that there was really only one club that could fill that gap and exert that level of influence.”

Rangers, under new chairman Douglas Park, went to war with the Scottish Professional Football League last summer as they demanded an independent investigation into the league body’s running.

It followed the controversial decision to prematurely end last season’s Covid-hit campaign and declare Celtic champions.

Although Rangers’ resolution ultimately failed, it did attract the backing of 12 other clubs.

But King admits vested interests will always overpower the desire for radical change.

“One of the problems we’ve got with the authorities in Scottish football is the level of influence the clubs have,” said the South Africa-based businessman.

“In my efforts with Rangers to get the club back at the main table, it was difficult. Because when we were absent, other clubs took control of the league structures.

“The argument is that you can reverse that and make sure Rangers dominate it rather than other clubs – but I think the real answer is that we need more independence.

“We actually need people acting in the best interests of Scottish football, not in the interests of one club versus another.

“I was there at the time of David Murray at Rangers when we dominated a lot of those committees and influenced things in our favour.

“More recently, it has been the other way round.

“So I think the true way forward is to try and get independence in there and do the right thing for Scottish football.

“That hasn’t been happening and it certainly still isn’t happening at this present time.”