Football - Hearts issue stark warning to clubs

Hearts have warned that Scottish football is in "real danger of speeding up the demise of the game" if reconstruction plans are not voted through next week.

PA Sport
Football - Hearts issue stark warning to clubs

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Hearts are in favour of shaking up the Scottish league system

The Edinburgh club, who only avoided being wound up before Christmas because of a £1million-plus cash input from supporters, outlined their reasons for supporting plans for a merged league structure with more equitable distribution of wealth.

Hearts believe the mid-season split, which will see two top leagues of 12 divide into three, will provide "increased competition amongst the top 24 professional clubs in Scotland with almost every game at every stage in the season having value to spectators, broadcasters and sponsors".

In a 3,300-word statement on their website, the club added: "The new proposed league will allow the game to benefit from potential new revenues that do not currently exist. This in turn provides valuable additional income that is distributed amongst the clubs.

"This is guaranteed income which is crucial for clubs when predicting cash flow projections for the new season."

St Mirren have announced their intention to vote against the plan and Ross County had previously expressed their opposition. Only two of the 12 Scottish Premier League clubs need to veto the proposals before they can go to the Scottish Football League, but Hearts warned of the consequences of blocking change.

"Crowds are dropping at games, audience figures are dropping with broadcasters and commercial income is dropping as a result of both these factors," they said. "Quality on the pitch is being affected by the pressure on clubs' revenues and we are in real danger of speeding up the demise of the game if we don't change to the new model."

The model has been several years in the making with previous ideas failing to achieve the consensus that the SPL appeared to have in January. Hearts said: "It's true, though, there is a greater risk of relegation for every club in the current SPL with, being realistic, the exception of Celtic.

"This, together with the acceptance to redistribute base income across 24 clubs as opposed to 12, shows just how seriously SPL clubs view the need to change the game as a whole for the betterment of Scottish football.

"The top two positions alone in the current SPL will give up £1million in prize money in order to facilitate a new 24-team professional league in Scotland."

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