19.04.2020 18:07 h

Scottish leagues look at reconstruction

Hamilton chairman Les Gray believes football might not return before October as he defended the decision to end the season in the Scottish lower leagues this week.

Gray will co-chair a taskforce that will aim to reconstruct the leagues to ensure no side suffers relegation due to the shutdown caused by coronavirus.

The Scottish Premiership season has not yet been declared over, but the controversial resolution passed by the 42-member clubs of the leagues this week means the top-flight could follow suit with positions awarded on a points-per-game basis.

That would see Celtic declared champions, while as it stands Hearts would be relegated to the Championship and Partick Thistle down to League One.

"The reality is I don't think we will be playing football again before September, October," Gray told the BBC.

"We need to get to the next stage and try to deliver a situation where the clubs that were disaffected are remedied. That will include Hearts and Partick Thistle.

"The terms of reference will be simply to create league reconstruction through an expanded Premiership which will then obviously have (an) impact on Championship, League One, League Two and potentially the pyramid."

Gray was part of the Scottish Professional Football Leagues (SPFL) board that put forward the resolution to end the season in the lower leagues to free up much-needed funds from prize money.

Rangers have led calls for an independent investigation into the voting process by demanding SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and legal adviser Rod McKenzie be suspended amid claims of bullying and coercion.

Aberdeen and Hearts have added their voices to support an independent review.

Gray admitted the process had been "shambolic" with the deciding yes vote cast by Dundee.

The Championship side initially intended to vote no to the resolution when clubs were asked to cast their ballot on April 10, but their vote was not received by the SPFL.

Dundee then performed a U-turn and voted the plan through five days later.

"We have what's been called a shambolic voting mess and it's hard to disagree with that because of what happened in the end," said Gray.

However, Gray dismissed Rangers' claims and believes the clubs negatively affected by ending the season are in the minority.

"The accusations of bullying are complete nonsense. There's loads of negotiation goes on between clubs, there's loads of chats, but the board is there purely to enact the will of the clubs and 81 percent of clubs voted in favour of this resolution.

"The silent majority have carried the day and other people are noisier and it's the clubs that voted no that are the noisiest. And I'm looking at what their motives might be."