Part-time an option, warns Raith chairman

Raith chairman Turnbull Hutton
Raith chairman Turnbull Hutton

PART-time football could be on the agenda for Raith Rovers next season unless a last gasp bid to revive league reconstruction succeeds.

Proposals to move to a 12-12-18 structure in time for the start of next season - a format that would have resulted in more revenue for first division clubs and one governing body - were halted after last week’s SPL vote failed to gain the required 11-1 majority in favour.

The decision of Ross County and St Mirren to oppose the plans has sent shock waves throughout clubs in the first division, who stood to benefit most from the change.

First division clubs subsequently held a summit at Hamilton on Monday where a working group was formed to try and resurrect the plans in time for next season.

The Press understands that a further meeting will take place today (Thursday) between first division clubs, SPL clubs and the relevant football authorities, to try to thrash out an 11th hour rescue package.

However, Raith chairman Turnbull Hutton fears that if that fails, he and his board of directors face a tough few weeks weighing up the possibility of part-time football at Stark’s Park.

“There’s a last-gasp opportunity to resurrect something this week,” he said.

“But even though some common ground has been agreed, I fear we’ve run out of time for next season.

“That means next season could be tough in terms of no extra funds coming down.

“Based on that, we’ve started a budget process based on the lowest amount we can foresee.

“We’re working on the basis that we’d like the mix of part-time and full-time that we’ve got this year, but we haven’t signed anybody yet.

“Grant Murray would like to speak to certain players before their contracts expire - and we’re aware of that.

“But we’ve also got the issues around low crowds and how that might affect season ticket sales.

“If provisional numbers don’t work out, and nobody buys season tickets to see us through the summer, we could go part-time. We’ve got to face reality.

“The bottom line is that something has to change in Scottish football because it’s not going to work doing nothing.”