Open Letter To All 42 SPFL Clubs

Apr 29, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Following the SPFL, directors written resolution, which was passed with a large majority of SPFL clubs, we now need reconciliation and contrition from all parties if we are to safeguard the future of Scottish football.

We face huge challenges to ensure we can get the new season up and running on target and safely for all involved, and it is vital that all stakeholders collaborate and engage meaningfully with the Joint Response Group’s task force working groups, pooling our knowledge, experience and resources for the greater good.

As SPFL directors, we have volunteered our time freely, in uniquely difficult and challenging circumstances and have participated on a fully-functional SPFL Board, which we believe has operated in an entirely fair and even-handed manner. We have each put our own self-interests behind us, to do what is best for Scottish football but have had to endure our professionalism and integrity as well as our compliance with our legal duties to the Company being openly called into question in recent weeks.

All of the SPFL Board meetings have been conducted in a fair and even manner, with everyone being able to voice their opinion and fully digest the many and varied issues that we have had to consider in forming our decision making.

In an attempt to reduce its own costs, ultimately for the benefit of all 42-member clubs, the SPFL furloughed several staff and a number of the executives voluntarily took salary cuts. As a result, only an executive team of five remain to administer and manage the on-going business of the organisation as well as planning for the end of the current Season and for Season 2020/21. Their workload has been extremely onerous, managing a huge number of additional tasks – liaising with the SFA, medical officers, the Government, UEFA, other league bodies, our commercial partners and clubs.

As a consequence, has everything been done perfectly and has it always been fully communicated? Of course it has not, and this is a point we have already raised to ensure the organisation is future- proofed for subsequent boards after we stand down. Indeed, at our request, the SPFL Chairman will be issuing a comprehensive Q&A document within the week, addressing many of the claims or questions that have been put into the public domain. We trust that this will give you, the members whom we have been appointed to represent, the same high level of comfort each of us has in the actions of the SPFL executive team.

We are unaware of any impropriety or any disregard for appropriate qualities of corporate governance. If Rangers Football Club has a dossier of evidence which shows anything to the contrary, then we would repeat the call for it to be brought forward immediately, because we, as club representative directors, have a clear duty to interrogate any allegations of misconduct or the like which it contains.

The SPFL Board is dealing with a fast-moving set of circumstances, with a skeleton staff trying hard to prioritise matters. It’s an unenviable job, and we are sure the many fair-minded people in Scottish football fully understand this.

All of the executive team retain our full support and admiration. Further recrimination and division will only decrease our chances of playing football matches in Scotland any time soon. The players, fans and officials deserve our best collective efforts. At a time when thousands of people in our communities are dying of Covid-19, Scottish football needs to reflect and consider how this looks to the outside world.

In keeping with SPFL Rules, we will now have a general meeting on 12 May, when clubs will have the chance to either support or reject the resolution requisitioned by Heart of Midlothian, Rangers and Stranraer. We live in a democracy and the SPFL Articles are clear – if 75% of the clubs in the Premiership, as well as 75% of the clubs in the Championship and 75% of the clubs in Leagues One and Two vote that we should spend our executives‘ time on matters other than Seasons 2019/20 & 2020/21, and clubs’ money on lawyers’ fees, then we will.

But if the resolution fails to gain the support of enough Members and the requisitioners nonetheless continue on their current course, the cost to our game will be incalculable.

Yours faithfully,

Alan Burrows, Motherwell FC

Les Gray, Hamilton Academical FC Ewen Cameron, Alloa Athletic FC

Ross McArthur, Dunfermline Athletic FC Ken Ferguson, Brechin City FC

Peter Davidson, Montrose FC