Raith chairman “70-80%” satisfied with league reconstruction plan

Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton

Raith Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton

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RAITH Rovers chairman Turnbull Hutton is ready to embrace the proposed changes to Scottish football.

Scotland’s senior football clubs will vote later in January on plans to merge the SPL and SFL and introduce a new 12-12-18 league structure.

The Raith board met on Wednesday to discuss the proposals but Hutton’s personal view is that the changes, if voted through, will benefit our game.

“If I had a shopping list for league reconstruction, I’d say that I’m around 70 to 80 per cent satisfied,” he told the Press.

“We’ve got rid of the SPL and the issue over spending money on ground improvements, and a fairer distribution of funds will make a huge difference to a club like Raith Rovers.

Potential

“It’s something that’s new and I’m optimistic it has the potential to improve our game.”

The plans involve one unified governing body overseeing a top flight Premiership of 12 clubs, a 12-club Championship and a third tier National League of 18 teams.

After two rounds of games, the top two leagues would split into three sections of eight with the top eight contesting the league title and European places, while the middle eight battle for promotion and relegation.

Fans have voiced opposition to the complex structure but Hutton sees its merits.

“It turns the initial part of the season into a sprint, which will bring more excitement to it,” he said.

“Then, depending on where you finish, you’re either faced with consolidating or challenging for promotion.

Challenge

“The challenge for teams like us is to get into the top four where there’s potential to play the likes of Hibs, Hearts and Aberdeen, and if you end up winning promotion, you’ll be better prepared for it.

“Had we been promoted two seasons ago we’d have gone up as cannon fodder, like Dundee have this season.

“This set-up gives you home and away games against teams from the bottom of the Premiership where you’ll be able to test your promotion credentials.

“It’s better than a one-off play-off game where, as we’ve discovered in the past, a whole season’s work can be blown apart by a goalkeeper throwing the ball into the back of his net.

“The proposals have got far more going for them than against, but there seems to be a lot of hysteria out there because it didn’t work in Austria.

“That’s not to say it can’t work here. The concern is that the benefits of it aren’t getting through to the ordinary fan.”