Scottish Football - Raith chief backs reconstruction plans

Outspoken Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton has given his overwhelming backing to new plans for Scottish football.

PA Sport
Scottish Football - Raith chief backs reconstruction plans
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Turnbull Hutton is looking forward to a brighter financial future for Scottish football (PA Photos)

The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League, in conjunction with the Scottish Football Association, have struck a merger deal in principle that would see a 12-12-18 set-up complete with mid-season splits and end-of-term play-offs.

Hutton, who has been one of the biggest critics of the SPL and SFA and the way they managed the fall-out of the Rangers crisis, believes common sense has finally broken out.

The Stark's Park chairman claims new plans for a fairer share of money throughout Scotland's 42 senior clubs will also spare his side from the kind of financial peril which has enveloped many of teams north of the border.

He told Press Association Sport: "I'm optimistic. If I had a list of things I'd like to have changed about Scottish football going forward, then I was never a fan of the financial distribution, the fact we had two bodies running our leagues, the boredom of playing each other four times.

"But if I look at what is being proposed now, there are some interesting possibilities. Does the financial picture look a lot brighter now? Absolutely. Without quoting numbers, the indicative numbers would make one hell of a difference to a club like ours."

Hutton claims strict rules on stadium capacities and under-soil heating may be relaxed, taking another cash burden off of the shoulders of hard-pressed clubs.

"The dawning reality from the SPL is that the criteria for stadiums are going to have to be tempered with some realism. That also make a big difference. There has been millions wasted on infrastructure for a bankrupt football set-up just to tick a box on the old SPL check-list."

And as for fans, he believes the plans, which will see the two top leagues of 12 split into three divisions of eight to decide the title and relegation to the following season's second tier, will entice supporters back to games.

"If Rovers make it into that middle league of eight, you won't have to go to an Airdrie, a Cowdenbeath or a Livingston for a third and fourth time," Hutton said. "You will have the likes of Hearts, Hibs or Aberdeen possibly coming to Stark's Park. That can only excite fans. And if you do get promotion, your team will have done it on merit because they will have taken on SPL teams and succeeded."

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