SPFL reconstruction: Is this how 14-team Scottish Premiership and revamped lower leagues will look?

Blueprints outline overhaul of Scottish leagues

The coronavirus pandemic brought a premature end to the football season
The coronavirus pandemic brought a premature end to the football season

A new document which outlines how a 14-team Scottish Premiership could be created along with a major reshuffle of the rest of Scottish football has emerged amid the ongoing debate about how to finish the 2019/20 season.

The blueprint, titled SPFL Reorganisation: Accommodating the premature end of season 19/20 and creating a manageable structure for the future of Scottish football, contains a detailed step-by-step explanation of how the divisions will be shaken up – but is not thought to be an official SPFL document.

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The Scotsman understands that the proposal may have been drawn up by one of the 42 member clubs.

Any alterations to the existing league set-up would need overwhelming support from member clubs, requiring at least 11 Premiership clubs to back the move along with a majority of clubs down the divisions.

There will be four tiers in the new structure – Premiership 1, Premiership 2, Championship and the same-level League 1 North and League 1 South. Here’s how reconstruction may look...

Premiership reshuffle

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Scottish football's top tier will start with 14 teams who play 26 matches i.e. clubs face each other home and away before a mid-season break at the end of January.

The division then splits into the top eight teams – Premiership 1 – who will play each other home and away resulting in a 40-game season.

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The bottom six teams will then be joined by the top two teams in the Championship to create the Premiership 2. The eight teams will also play a further 14 games to complete a 40-game season for all clubs barring the two promoted Championship teams, who will play 36.

A league trophy will be presented to the champions.

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Championship structure

The Championship will have 12 teams in what the SPFL is calling the pre-split phase, who will play each other home and away. After each club has played 22 games, the top two teams are promoted at the split and join the bottom six Premiership clubs to create Premiership 2.

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The remaining ten Championship clubs play a further two times with the champions winning the league trophy and the tenth-placed team being relegated.

In terms of play-offs, the Championship winners will play the team finishing second bottom in Premiership 2, while the Championship runners-up will play the team finishing third bottom in Premiership 2. The winning teams from both ties will contest a play-off final.

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The team finishing second-last in the Championship (ninth) will play-off with the League 1 runner-up.

League 1 overhaul

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The remaining teams will see significant change in the lower reaches of the SPFL, with two same-step leagues created and named League 1 North and League 1 South.

It is hoped that by regionalising the divisions, it will reduce travel costs and create more derby matches.

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There are four remaining spaces for clubs in the new League 1 structure. The SPFL has already indicated that one team each will be bumped up from the Highland League and Lowland League, with the remaining two slots going to Premiership “colt” teams, or a second member of the Highland League and Lowland League.

The teams in both League 1 divisions will play each other four times, resulting in a 36-game season. Play-offs will then be held to decide automatic promotion to the Championship.

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The League 1 North winners will face the League 1 South runners-up, with the League 1 North runners-up facing the League 1 South winners.

The two winning team will then contest a play-off final, with the winners being automatically promoted and the losing finalists playing the second-bottom Championship team.