Splitting Scottish Football may not be the best idea

Scotland Football

SPL clubs have agreed to pursue a route of two top divisions with 12 teams in each but will it make any difference to Scottish football?

The Scottish Premier League has been widely debated among European football fans in terms of its strength and longevity for a number of years. The recent expulsion of Rangers down to the third division meant a change had to take place and the clubs have spoken.

The idea is to create an SPL which is split into two divisions of 12 teams. The 18 teams not included in the two SPL divisions will form the single division below the top leagues with teams moving back and forth via promotion and relegation in the normal way.

It’s arguable whether the move is going to make any difference to the standard of Scottish football. Ultimately the lower league teams, as things stand, are going to improve slightly because they will be playing week in and week out against teams that have normally been ranked far higher.

“I'm delighted to say that we have unanimously agreement in principle from the 12 SPL clubs to the 24-18 team model. We are looking forward to sitting down with the Scottish Football League and the Scottish FA to talk about the details,” said SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster.

There would be a great deal of press attention attributed to the new leagues if the rest of Scottish football approves the move and Scottish teams could benefit financially from reviewed TV broadcasting deals and initial interest from fans of sides in the top two divisions.

However, the longevity is questionable. There is an argument that exists to say that such a move would simply consolidate the power of Celtic in the top division as things stand and this is unlikely to change quickly despite the fact Rangers would subsequently be offered a quicker way back into the big time.

The whole point of the move has to be to make Scottish football competitive. There is also the questionable point of how the divisions would interact with plans to review the Champions League by UEFA. Football could be left in the laughable situation that five out of the 12 teams in the first of the Premier divisions will qualify for the European Cup.

It’s a good idea in theory but how it gets on in practice remains to be seen.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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