The fate of the Scottish football season rests on the opinion of Dundee after a dramatic and controversial voting process.
With 40 of the 42 clubs having voted on a resolution to decide the season, Dundee are taking their time to place the casting vote.
Here the PA news agency answers some of the key questions surrounding the issue.
What is the resolution?
SPFL clubs are to vote on a resolution recommending the termination of the 2019/20 season in the Ladbrokes Championship, Ladbrokes League 1 and Ladbrokes League 2.— SPFL (@spfl) April 8, 2020
Clubs were asked to vote on plans to terminate the season in the lower three divisions with final standings determined by points per game averages. The SPFL board insists the league must be declared over before end-of-season prize money is released to clubs. The Premiership would be decided on the same basis at a later date if the SPFL board rules the remaining matches cannot be played. Clubs were asked to vote by 5pm last Friday.
What were the results?
The SPFL Board met this evening to consider the responses to the resolution sent to clubs on 8 April.— SPFL (@spfl) April 10, 2020
The resolution needed 75 per cent backing in the Premiership, Championship and among the combined League One and Two clubs. According to the SPFL, as at 5pm on Friday, the Premiership count was 10-1 in favour, although Hearts later confirmed they had joined Rangers in voting no with their email believed to have landed late because of technical issues. The Championship was 7-2 in favour and the lower divisions were 16-3 in favour. With the missing lower-league vote irrelevant, Dundee’s vote will decide the fate of the resolution either way.
Why are we still waiting for a decision?
The SPFL stated that Dundee, who had apparently told other clubs they were voting no, emailed them at 6pm on Friday – just after the interim results were released – to tell them to disregard the vote they had sent in just before the deadline. The SPFL says it did not receive Dundee’s vote until later that evening.
When will we find out?
Although clubs were asked to vote by Friday evening, they have 28 days from last Wednesday to submit their vote. It is unlikely Dundee would wait that long, but nobody can rule anything out.
What are Dundee saying?
Nothing in public, although they have been in contact with the SPFL board to reiterate that they are still considering their position. They did release a lengthy statement on Friday afternoon outlining their concerns over the resolution, claiming clubs would be cumulatively worse off by £4million. Dundee claimed some clubs had discussed “viable, equitable proposed alternatives that could see potentially a neutral outcome for all clubs involved if the season cannot be finished”. They added: “Make no mistake; we would have to work quickly and diligently to ensure that members’ current needs are met and that the democratic process is followed, but it is achievable.”
Is there an alternative?
📝 Chairman’s Update – 12 April 2020— Heart of Midlothian FC (@JamTarts) April 12, 2020
Hearts revealed that the SPFL board ruled out five other potential scenarios while putting forward the resolution as its only proposal. The Ladbrokes Premiership’s bottom club have announced their intention to propose league reconstruction as an alternative. Rangers had submitted a counter-resolution – for the SPFL to lend clubs money based on projected prize money – but it was deemed legally ineffective by the SPFL’s legal advisor, Rod McKenzie, on Friday.
What are Rangers saying?
Rangers have called for McKenzie and SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster to be suspended and an independent investigation mounted into the process surrounding the vote. The Ibrox club claimed they had been handed “alarming” evidence by a whistleblower. SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan told them to share the evidence or withdraw their claims. Rangers later argued the SPFL should loan hard-pressed clubs money under existing powers rather than trying to persuade them to vote for the resolution.
What happens next?
The SPFL board is set to hold more talks while Dundee continue to ponder their next move.
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