First task-force meeting encourages the Falkirk chairman after SPFL blast

Falkirk chairman Gary Deans will join up with the SPFL league reconstruction 
task-force for a second time tomorrow (Friday).

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 7:30 am
More talks are scheduled on the future of the game tomorrow. Picture: Michael Gillen.
More talks are scheduled on the future of the game tomorrow. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The group convened on Monday when 12 representatives from various clubs in the SPFL plus figures from the the Highland and Lowland Leagues sat down to preliminary discussions over possible changes to the Scottish football set-up.

Mr Deans was ‘encouraged’ by the initial talks and will present his views to the meeting further tomorrow, and opted to keep them largely under wraps when speaking to The Falkirk Herald yesterday (Wednesday).

He said: “There was a positive feel to the meeting and more appetite for change than I thought there might have been.

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Falkirk chairman Gary Deans will get around the table with the SPFL task-force again tomorrow.

“However there’s lots still to go through and consider. We are collecting our thoughts ahead of the next meeting.

“We heard what everyone had to say and what suggestions might be put forward.

“I’d say I was encouraged, albeit we need the support of 11 of the top flight teams. Unless we get them to agree to the structure there’s no chance of it happening so the focus has to be the Premier league first and the rest follow on from that.”

Mr Deans has urged football chiefs to take matters on an issue-by-issue basis and re-iterated this call in regard to the reconstruction.

“I have always said we should take things in a due stage process. I need to keep our proposal and thoughts for now but to my mind there are only two or three viable options. There are variations on allsorts too.

“Some were for one proposal, others liked others and a few wanted no change at all, but there was a majority who recognised a need for a change and cognisant of the situation we are in.”

Ann Budge of Hearts, who is jointly leading the taskforce alongside Les Gray of Hamilton, has claimed a decision could be reached within three weeks but Mr Gray suggested slightly longer may be needed.

But Mr Deans added: “If there are – as I feel there are – only two or three viable options then we don’t need particularly long. We sound out each of the options and establish there is enough support for one of them and then move on to the next step.”

Hours before being announced as part of the panel, Mr Deans had served further explanation and views behind the Bairns’ reaction to the leagues being called final – this time via The Falkirk Herald website.

He admitted being furious the second-placed side had been denied the title by just one point and criticised some of the information the club had received from the league during the voting process.

However he insisted at this stage of the season reconstruction of the leagues was ‘the only game in town’ for Falkirk and hours later he was placed on the panel tasked with establishing the way forward for the game, whenever it resumes following the coronavirus crisis and closedown.

He wrote: “We didn’t want this, you didn’t want this but we need to keep our eyes focused on the bigger prize at the end of this process – a potential league restructuring which would not only benefit Falkirk FC but Scottish football as a whole.”