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Club Statement: Reconstruction Vote

The club has been asked by supporters’ to clarify its position given the clear and valid concerns raised by other clubs and to explain why we voted yes.

It was not a decision between the status quo and this sole alternative. The status quo was gone, completely undermined by the panic positioning of the SFL1 Clubs who effectively neutered the SFL Board and their ability to properly represent the SFL as a whole. We did not agree with the tactics or the timing of the actions of the SFL1 clubs but understood their desperate and precarious financial positions. We have to admit that if this had occurred a few years ago when we were in SFL1, we may have had less soul searching around this decision but would hope that we would have stuck together to find a better outcome for all.

When this process began, there was a desire to see some main principles progress including; one league body, an appropriate all through distribution model, play-offs between all divisions and a sustainable pyramid structure. The broad objectives were never the source of concern but what has developed throughout a thoroughly flawed process did raise a number of issues that gave the Clyde Board significant unease. Prior to the vote we pushed for clarification on the impact of the distribution model and sought greater involvement in the development of the pyramid structure.

There are no guarantees with regard to the future finances of any league but we obtained the necessary clarity on how projected figures were derived and we understood the risk and impact on the club before taking the decision. It was crystal clear that the proposal to move to a single body meant the likelihood of a very significant drop in distribution monies to this club. 

With regard to the pyramid structure, we sought and obtained from Stewart Regan, Chief Executive of the SFA, the assurance that the Third Division would be meaningfully included in the Pyramid implementation group, something that had not occurred previously.

It was not an easy decision to vote yes, there remain concerns over the detail and future for lower division clubs in a structure dominated by the full-time clubs where the lower leagues have their voice marginalised to a position of irrelevance. The financial implications are serious, but we recognised the alternative of a 20 club SFL had similarly unattractive risks. 

On the day of the vote we considered all options and the Board decision was to vote Yes and ultimately this was for two reasons:-

  • There was no plan for a 20 club SFL on the table with any strategy that could have seen it survive even in the medium term. There was no immediate financial threat in the coming season, but thereafter there was simply no viable plan on offer.
  • Although in the short term this was not in our best interests, in the medium to longer term it might be as we aspire to be in the top half of the structure as opposed to the bottom.

The SFL1 teams have secured increased distributions by virtue of the all through distribution model and we support that, believing that it should be good for the game as a whole if full-time football becomes more sustainable. However, nobody should forget that every lower league club has paid a financial price for this and there will be challenges balancing the books under the new model.

The lower league clubs were left utterly exposed by the SFL1 breakaway stance. Had the SFL stuck together to find a solution then the likelihood would have been that a better outcome might have been achieved by the SFL board.

It is sad to say that we did not vote in favour because it was a good decision to do so – we would have felt morally more sound had we voted against – however our responsibility is now to make the sure that the trust placed in those saying this is for the good for the game is not misplaced. We will work to make a success of this new league for all, but will not hesitate to highlight when decisions are made that are not in the best interests of all clubs.