Rangers have demanded that Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) chief executive officer Neil Doncaster be suspended over the vote about how to end the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league on Wednesday submitted a resolution that said the three lower leagues would finish in the positions they stood at when play was halted in March. A decision on the Scottish Premiership would be taken at a later date if the first proposal was passed.
The Premiership and clubs in League One and Two have backed the plan with the required 75 percent of the vote, but it now rests on one Championship club, with seven having voted for it and two against.
However, Rangers, second in the Premiership behind leaders Celtic, said that a whistle-blower has provided the club with allegations that the vote on how to end the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two was not carried out fairly.
“We have been presented with evidence via a whistle-blower that raises serious concerns surrounding the SPFL’s processes relating to its stewardship of the voting on the resolution presented to member clubs,” a Rangers statement said on Saturday. “Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park attempted to discuss this evidence with SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, who initially refused to do so. The SPFL followed up that call with an e-mail, which we believe was a thinly disguised attempt to silence legitimate concerns.”
“Rangers will not be bullied into silence. We believe it is in the interests of all Scottish clubs and supporters that the evidence, which is alarming, be addressed as quickly as possible,” the club said.
Rangers’ protest came after the league rejected their proposal to pay prize money early to help ease the damaging financial effects of the virus lockdown.
“The lack of leadership and responsibility from the SPFL as a members’ organization has shocked me,” Park said. “If ever there was a time for complete openness and transparency, it is now. Crucial decisions are being made on the issues of promotion and relegation behind closed doors and without proper time for consideration or debate.”
“The farcical conduct of this affair seems to me to bring the corporate governance and business operations of the SPFL into sharp focus,” he said. “It is an example of an undemocratic culture, which has existed within the SPFL for far too long.”
“We call for the suspension of the SPFL’s chief executive, Neil Doncaster, and its legal adviser, Rod McKenzie, while an independent investigation is conducted,” he said.
SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said that he was concerned about Rangers’ allegations and has called on them to show him the evidence.
“It is extremely concerning that Rangers have chosen to make a number of very serious allegations against the SPFL, its corporate governance, its culture, its office-bearers and its business operations,” MacLennan said in a statement. “In the often-heated atmosphere of Scottish football, rumor and misinformation can very quickly reach fever-point.”
“However, allegations of a lack of even-handedness and fair play go to the very integrity of the league and I would expect Rangers interim chairman Douglas Park to present compelling evidence to back up his claims, or to withdraw them.”
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