Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy calls for 'complete transparency' after SPFL's 'embarrassing climbdown'
They have accused league bosses of making changes to the report before it was sent to SPFL board members, and that only one unnamed club was given the opportunity to contribute to the investigation.
And Warriors’ chairman Iain McMenemy has added fuel to the fire, revealing that ‘assurances had not been met’ when he asked for the review’s report to be fed back to all member clubs. He has urged for “transparency, clarity, and accountability as a matter of urgency.”
SPFL chairman Murdoch McLennan stated last month that he was “reassured but not complacent” over the findings made by independent external auditors Henderson Loggie.
The Premiership clubs insist this was a “highly inappropriate” statement to make as it “did not reflect the full findings of the report”. The review was commissioned in July after MacLennan apologised to Rangers as a dispute over sponsorship involving car company cinch was concluded in the Ibrox club’s favour.
A joint statement released to the media by Rangers read: “On behalf of SPFL Premiership clubs Aberdeen, Motherwell, Livingston, Rangers, St Johnstone and St. Mirren, a letter was today issued to the SPFL executive in response to the handling of the recent Independent Governance report. The clubs hold serious concerns regarding the report's independence, transparency, and the overall governance of the SPFL.
"The letter seeks full clarity on numerous issues so that the clubs, as shareholders of the SPFL, can determine if further action is necessary. In conjunction with a draft report being made available to the SPFL Board, SPFL Chairman Murdoch McLennan hastily released a statement that did not reflect the full findings of the report. Additionally, the statement was issued without the approval or knowledge of members of the SPFL Board or SPFL member clubs.
“The SPFL Board is to meet at a future date to discuss the draft report's contents, making it highly inappropriate for the SPFL Chairman to have made any public comment ahead of that meeting. Regarding the report itself, the clubs and others are deeply concerned about its independence, given that the SPFL Executive received the first draft of the report and made changes to it prior to sending it to SPFL Board members.
“Of the 42 member clubs, only one had the opportunity to input into the report’s investigation, outside of current or previous SPFL Board members. Despite several requests from the clubs, the report has yet to be released to any of the member clubs despite the clubs footing the bill for its creation.
“The handling of the Independent Governance report has brought the clubs governance concerns to a head, and it is now incumbent on the SPFL Board and Executive, for the sake of trust in those running our game, to provide clarity over these clear and deeply troubling concerns as a matter of urgency."
And a Stenhousemuir statement, provided by McMenemy, added: “After being assured for almost two years that the SPFL were in the right in continuing this dispute with Rangers, we were surprised to receive, without warning, a copy of a news release that seemed to be an embarrassing climbdown. The SPFL had to apologise to Rangers, pay compensation and legal costs, and admit that they got this wrong.
“Quite rightly, we wanted to know why we had gone down this now discredited route, how much this had cost the league, and in turn how much less would be paid out to clubs because of this? Knowing this was essential to ensure that we don’t make these mistakes again in the future. This was the basis and catalyst for the Independence Governance Report.
“Far from drawing a line under this issue, the entire handling of this review and report raises fresh questions and concerns regarding the judgement of those running our game.
“It’s time for complete transparency with all member clubs who are the shareholders of the SPFL. We welcome this intervention from six of our largest clubs and will support them in any endeavour to achieve transparency, clarity, and accountability as a matter of urgency.”
A spokesperson for the SPFL responded: “We can confirm that we received a letter on behalf of six Premiership clubs. The letter contained a number of factual inaccuracies, which we have now addressed with those clubs.
"We look forward to discussing the recommendations of the independent governance review with all Premiership clubs at a meeting soon, once the process has been completed.”