Why Hearts' league reconstruction hopes could be dashed next week

Clubs have been asked to reveal their view to a 14-10-10-10 revamp by 10am on Monday

By Joel Sked
Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:31 am
Updated Friday, 12th June 2020, 10:31 am

On Thursday, when the SPFL confirmed they were consulting clubs over league reconstruction, which would see a 14-10-10-10 structure, it suggested two things: what a waste of time the last few weeks have been and this is the last roll of the dice.

A task force to explore a revamp was created way back in April, led by Hearts chair Ann Budge and Hamilton’s Les Gray, following the agreement to terminate the Championship, League One and League Two.

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Hearts' hopes of league reconstruction could be dashed. Picture: SNS

The task force amounted to nothing.

A month after the SPFL resolution to terminate leagues was passed, the 2019/20 Premiership season was officially concluded. At the same time it was suggested there may be an appetite to discuss league reconstruction once more.

Hearts submitted a proposal. Rangers submitted one of their own. Both failed to garner enough support.

So the SPFL, 66 days after announcing their resolution to terminate the leagues on a points-per-game average, revealed their own plan. The league body have written to all 42 member clubs to ask for their views on the 14-10-10-10 system because “it is clear there is enough support for a permanent” change.

It’s as if the penny has just dropped that they could face difficulty from Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer, the relegated teams, and Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts, the teams denied a chance of earning promotion.

Doncaster, in a statement, expressed sympathy for the relegated clubs.

In turn a hastily-arranged ‘vote’ will take place with clubs urged to return their view on a chance to league reconstruction by 10am on Monday, 15 June. It is understandable if fans expect an announcement on Sunday at 9.37am on the SPFL website with clubs still to indicate their view.

On top of that, they have been asked to agree to a change to the notice period for an EGM to take place.

Will league reconstruction amount to anything this time?

It is hard to be confident.

There is the strong feeling that a lot of clubs, especially those lower down the leagues are fed up with the whole charade of league reconstruction, knowing it doesn’t impact them that much. After all, their main concern is getting through this difficult period.

The Daily Record report that it will struggle to gain significant backing from the Championship, with Premiership Ross County also doubting the changes.

It is understood the Staggies have concerns about the split in the new 14-team top-flight occurring after just 26 matches, rather than the 33 it currently sits at. The result will be fewer games for teams who finish in the bottom against the bigger names.

In the second tier there is little appetite due to the lack of change to the division. It could be seen as change for change sake to keep Hearts happy.

There will likely be plenty of discussion over the weekend as the support for it to pass is sought.

Aberdeen chairman has been against a permanent change to the league structure with the view that making a switch during the current climate isn’t sensible. He has admitted he prefers a temporary revamp, which Hearts suggested in their proposals.

According to the Scottish Sun, his stance could soften with talks expected to take place with SPFL chiefs.

Slowly but surely there is light at the end of what has been a dark tunnel which appears to have been kitted out with booby traps set by Wile E. Coyote.

Next week should provide more clarity and perhaps even certainty with the desire for the Premiership fixture list to be released ahead of the start to the 2020/21 campaign in August.

Whether Hearts are on it is anybody’s guess.

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