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COMMENT: SPFL proposal descended into farce long before Dundee’s non-statement statement

Hampden Park, home of the SFA and SPFL
Hampden Park, home of the SFA and SPFL

Abandon all credibility all those who enter here.

That seems the succinct way of summing up Dundee’s astonishing delay in deciding whether to complete a U-turn in voting to back the SPFL’s proposals to end the Championship, League 1 and League 2 season.

A rushed process had descended into a shambolic farce long before John Nelms steeled himself to cast the deciding vote yesterday only to shy away, ironically, at 5pm.

The club statement declaring their delay will only raise more questions is the understatement of this debacle.

So much has happened over the course of the last four days that it is easy to forget that Dundee not only cast their vote – only for it to go missing – but they initially voted no.

Having discovered their vote would be the decisive one the Dens Park outfit then asked should their vote eventually arrive at Hampden that it be regarded as void.

That last part has become the fundamental issue in this saga as it has left Dundee and the process as a whole open to claims of being tainted. Honestly, as we wait for a pivotal and deciding vote to be case who can argue against that view?

SPFL chief Neil Doncaster.

As for the SPFL, it’s fair to say they have not covered themselves in glory thus far.

They shot themselves in the foot with their handling of this episode too by asking clubs to vote within 48 hours of receiving the proposals was an insult in itself.

In addition whoever thought it was a good decision to announce the state of play with three votes still to be counted just after the 5pm deadline on Friday should be asked to explain themselves too.

For an organisation with the word professional in its name, this has been amateur stuff thus far.

Anyone who believes the Dundee managing director’s change of mind will be the end of this sorry tale has clearly not been paying attention.

Long before the announcement of yet another delay yesterday both Rangers and Hearts have sharpened their knives.

They both voted against the proposals and it has turned ugly since with Rangers wanting SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and the league’s legal adviser Rod McKenzie suspended pending an inquiry after declaring there are in possession of information which raises serious issues about the voting process.

Hearts owner Ann Budge meanwhile, wants league reconstruction and believes the SPFL has questions to answer on whether they unduly influenced the voting procedure.

Dundee’s dithering and delay as they ponder whether to change their no to a yes will only fan the flames among the conspiracy theorists out there.

Dundee managing director John Nelms.

Partick Thistle certainly want to discuss it and were quick to get their point of view across before their Championship rivals announcement yesterday.

A lengthy statement from the Jags included the nugget that, having obtained a joint opinion from senior and junior counsel, they believe Dundee’s original vote against the proposals was in line with the SPFL’s own rules and must stand.

Clearly the SPFL see it otherwise and it seems inevitable this one is destined for a courtroom in Scotland in the not too distant future.

With so much at stake for Partick, and in all likelihood Hearts, who also face succumbing to the same fate as the Jags in dropping down a division by the time next season starts, it appears league reconstruction is the only way in which the SPFL is going to head off a legal challenge down the line if Dundee do eventually vote to support the proposals.

Whether peace can be brokered to settle what has become an increasingly acrimonious and polarising situation for clubs is another matter entirely.

Spare a thought for the teams in Leagues 1 and 2. They were braced for some much needed funds coming their way in the next couple of days which would have alleviated the financial pressure.

A depressing and unfathomable mess has been created and the attempts to resolve it are threatening to turn ugly as those with a vested interest prepare to dig their heels in and fight their corner.

It’s not boxing but in Scottish football, the gloves are about to come off.