Jan 31 2013 By Andrew McNair, Galloway News
Queen of the South, Annan Athletic and Stranraer will vote today (Thursday January 31) on whether to shake up Scottish football.
The clubs will decide on a new league structure which will reduce the number of divisions to three but still incorporate all 42 SFL clubs.
A proposed three league structure is of 12-12-18 team divisions is on the table and representatives of all 30 Scottish Football League teams, including the Stair Park, Galabank and Palmerston clubs, will meet tomorrow to potentially give their backing to the idea. The new system would be under the governance of a single league body. This would mean an end to the SPL and SFL.
The top flight sides voted unanimously in favour of the changes on Monday.
New Annan boss Jim Chapman is all for the shake-up.
He said: “The powers at be will decided the way forward for Scottish football but it is good that they are considering change - as it is needed.
“It’s important we try things to improve our game as the league is stagnating at the moment.
“But all I can do personally is influence the way forward and future of Annan Athletic.”
If 75 percent of the SFL sides back proposals there is a chance they could be in place from as early as next season.
But SFL chief David Longmuir has already voiced his concerns about such an early start date.
He said: “I’m not giving any view on whether it’s feasible for next season but I think it would be very tight.”
Under the terms of the potential restructuring - the top two leagues of 12 teams would split into three leagues of eight - half way through the season.
The top flight would be to compete for titles and European places, the second consisting of the bottom four of the top flight and top four of the Scottish Championship would face off to decide who started the next season in the Scottish Premier section.
The bottom league of eight would compete to avoid the two relegation places to the 18 team Scottish National League, which would include Annan Athletic at first, promoted or not. In future the champions of that division would be promoted with an as of yet undecided play-off to decide who else goes up and down.
There should be no glamour tie with Rangers for Queens as under these proposals, the Glasgow giants would stay in the bottom tier for at least one more season.
Queens would only join Rangers if they failed to achieve promotion.
But the Palmerston club could be playing SPL sides in just a year if they were to maintain a top four space in the Championship (first division) next season.
Annan will remain in the bottom league no matter how they perform for the rest of the season and would get another two Ibrox glamour ties next term under the plans.
A decision on whether to include a pyramid structure to allow non-league teams such as Dalbeattie Star and Threave Rovers to gain promotion to the pro ranks will be decided at a later date.