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Open Letter to Stewart Milne re: Upcoming SPL Meeting

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The Board of Dons Supporters Together have sent this open letter to Aberdeen FC Chairman Stewart Milne in regards to the upcoming SPL Meeting later this month.

Dear Mr Milne,

As you prepare for the meeting of the SPL clubs on 30 April 2012 to discuss the proposed changes to the rules of the SPL, we wish to make you aware of the views of the supporters we represent.
It is our opinion that the proposed changes to the SPL rules do not go far enough, and have as their main purpose the facilitation of the direct entry of a Newco Rangers into the SPL following liquidation of the previous commercial entity. You will be aware of the strength of feeling that such a potential outcome arouses amongst followers of football across Scotland, and the potential damage to the game as a whole if financial self-interest is allowed to over-ride the principles of fair play, integrity and honouring ones obligations.

The astonishing number of responses to the recent splsurvey and consistency of views expressed (even from Rangers supporters) cannot be ignored. Ultimately, the finance in the game comes from the pockets of the paying supporters, either through their direct contact with the clubs through ticket sales and merchandise or indirectly via their subscriptions to TV companies and sponsors.

In survey after survey, these same customers whose money funds the game are telling every club and footballing authority in Scotland that they want more variety in larger leagues, more positive open, attacking and attractive football played, a fairer distribution of money within the game across all the leagues, and an even-handed application of the rules by officials and regulating bodies. Until the customers views are listened to and their views acted on, the game in Scotland will continue its slow and steady decline

With regard to the SPL proposals our view is

Resolution 1 – In favour.

Resolution 2A – Against. Instead, we feel that an alternative Resolution 2 should be proposed which specifically prohibits an Insolvency Transfer Event.

Resolution 2B – Not applicable due to the prohibition of Insolvency Transfer Event.

Resolution 3 – In favour.

Resolution 4 – The principles of our views on Resolutions 1,2A, 2B and 3 above should be applied to whatever specific updates are proposed.

Resolution 5 – Not applicable due to the prohibition of Insolvency Transfer Event. An alternative rule should be proposed under which a member club’s share in the SPL is not transferable, and in the event of liquidation that share lapses. The remainder of the current season will be played out by the remaining clubs with games already played against the defunct club declared null and void. The vacant place will be filled by a double promotion from the top of the SFL first division at the end of that season.

Resolution 6 – In favour.

Resolution 7 – In favour.

With regard to the potential of “life without Rangers”, it seems to us that the official statement you made in the Annual Accounts of 2002 is as relevant to the current situation as it was during the events of 2002 :-

“It is difficult to envisage exactly what is going to happen in terms of the infrastructure of the game in Scotland
but, as things stand, Aberdeen, along with all the other SPL clubs other than the Old Firm, will be leaving the SPL at the conclusion of season 2003/4. If that does happen, Aberdeen, along with the other clubs outwith the Old Firm, will be looking to form a new league with a new voting structure which Rangers and Celtic will be invited to join. If they choose to decline this invitation there is little doubt that, in the short term, there will be a reduction in revenues from broadcasting and sponsorship due to their absence. However, it is my firm belief that within a short period, a Scottish league, in which a number of clubs will be capable of winning the championship, will become extremely attractive to television companies and business organisations alike.”

If the current 10 non Old-Firm clubs were to pursue today, the course of action proposed 10 years ago, it would be with the full support of DST. The notion of individual clubs owning their own TV rights in a league is preposterous, as is that of 2 clubs acting as a concert party and having the power of veto over the majority. The situation is entirely analogous to the rugby 5 Nations situation of the past when England’s demands for an unfair share of TV money were successfully faced down by the other countries.

In the event that Rangers go into liquidation, as an alternative to the 10 resigning from the SPL, we suggest that an immediate egm of the SPL is called and the 10 push through changes to the voting structure while Celtic are in a minority of 1, and before any resumption of Old Firm hegemony can be re-established.

DST considers that the time has now come to arrest the rapid decline of Scottish Football by restoring democracy, and re-distributing finances fairly in the game. The supporting public will no longer tolerate irregularities by the game’s fat cats, nor the subsidy of “too big to fail” enterprises whether they are banks or bankrupt football clubs.

Best Regards

The Board of Dons Supporters Together

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