SPFL chief calls for calm after backlash to collapse of reconstruction talks

Neil Doncaster has asked Scottish clubs to work together to overcome the coronavirus pandemic after the collapse of the reconstruction talks sparked anger and accusations.

Falkirk claimed that Scottish football had become "a mess", Partick Thistle called the premiership clubs "thoughtless and selfish", and Hearts accused their rivals of "appalling disrespect" after a number of top clubs decided to make plans to reform to block the leagues.

In a statement on Sunday, Inverness, who was denied promotion after graduating as runners-up, claimed that the reconstruction talks were "doomed" in a long statement, which he described as "insincere, incompetent mess".

Thistle's relegation to League One now looks safe, while Falkirk is denied promotion after reaching a point behind Raith Rovers when the pandemic stopped playing. Hearts are relegated when the Premiership is called in the same way as the lower leagues.

Doncaster told BBC Radio Scotland: “This is a passionate game. If football is not played and companies in general are under massive pressure, you can expect passionate comments.

"I find it unfortunate because passionate claims don't help.

“We're trying to work together for the benefit of 42 clubs and get the game up and running again as soon as possible.

“The more we criticize and fight, the more difficult it gets, because instead of working on a plan to get the games going again, I and my team appear in programs like this to defend instead of on the front foot kick back games as soon as possible.

Dundee United is slated to be promoted after the championship is determined based on points per game
Dundee United to be promoted (Jeff Holmes / PA)

“You have to keep in mind that we are a sports competition and master clubs and relegation clubs every year.

“Of course, nobody expected that a line in the lower league would have to be drawn at this point due to the Covid 19 crisis, but we have to deal with the consequences.

"You could end the season, but how would people like Dundee United feel? Apart from the legal ramifications.

"Ultimately, you have to have a pragmatic way forward in a sports competition."

Doncaster spoke before Inverness joined the complaints with a damning statement saying that the collapse of the talks was "inevitable because it was depressing".

"The incredible numbers that started in the group were one of the reasons why, perhaps understandably cynical, we believed that it was doomed from the start and nothing we heard from our colleagues did anything to really water down this opinion, ”the statement said.

"When people who respect you openly declare shortly after the process begins that they believe they are wasting their time and predict what they think will happen and what ultimately happened, it was difficult not to share their disillusionment."

Doncaster emphasized that the formation of the league was a decision for the clubs.

"You probably need 11 out of 12 votes in the Premier League and 75 percent in the other leagues, so it has always been a difficult challenge," he added.

"At the Premiership meeting on Friday, I was told that the idea that the reconstruction talks were going forward had a real sympathy for the idea, but was now of the opinion that it was not the right time."

"I think it remains an openness to reconstruction. The people in the reconstruction have done a lot of work and I hope that will not be wasted. "

Doncaster emphasized that there are no easy answers.

"This is an unprecedented crisis and the leagues need to respond as best as possible," he said. “Things like this will happen all over Europe.

"We all know that we cannot play games. There is a government policy that says football will be on June 10th at the earliest."

“Some leagues – the German and the English – are trying to play games behind closed doors. It will be interesting to see if they can be successful. I see a third Brighton player has been registered for Covid-19 and I believe that one of the German teams is self-isolating due to a positive player test.

"The French league did what we did. It drew a line under the season based on points per game."

The premiership should now be over in the coming days or weeks.

"We know how many players are out of contracts in May and June and that will put the clubs in a very difficult position and they will not be able to play their remaining games, especially not with the teams that are in season 19-20 started, "said Doncaster.

"The board is committed to consulting with the clubs and is looking forward to some feedback from Friday's Premiership meeting that I believe will address this issue."

Hearts have been threatened with a formal challenge if they are handed over to the drop, and Doncaster replied, "Clubs have to do what they think is right, but ultimately legal action against the league is legal action against clubs."





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