IAN MURRAY MP reckons the SPFL have turned Scottish football into a laughing stock and believes the botched vote to end the season should be the catalyst for sorely-needed change at Hampden.
Murray is the former chairman of 8000-strong fans’ group Foundation of Hearts [FoH] which played a key part in saving the Jambos from threat of liquidation in 2014.
And he was left stunned on Wednesday night when the divisive proposal to call the campaign finally passed due to Dundee’s belated ‘yes’ vote.
It leaves Hearts facing the grim footballing and financial realities of relegation if the Premiership fixture list cannot be fulfilled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The voting process has been mired in controversy, with the Dee initially attempting to submit a ‘no’ ballot which was not received by the SPFL. They subsequently asked for the governing body not to recognise any resubmission and, ultimately, made a U-turn.
Murray, Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, reckons this is just the latest in a long line of embarrassments for Scottish football and has called for change.
He said: “Scottish football has been run for far too long by people who are desperate for the succession and desperate for the blazer.
“Until we get out of that mindset of jobs for the boys and holding on to your position, we will never move forward.
“We can either move on or continue to be a laughing stock.
“How many times are we going to talk about how the authorities that run the game are a farce without doing anything about it? Scottish football is a complete and utter shambles and this does nothing to resolve it.
“It appears Dundee have been pressured to change their stance on the basis that some clubs wanted money paid out in order to keep cash flow going.
“It’s completely and utterly ludicrous. I’ve no idea why the SPFL couldn’t change the rules and pay out the money based on current positions and, if necessary, clawed it back at a later date.
“If they are going to pay out the prize money by Friday, then the funds are clearly sitting there. Just give the clubs the bloody money without imposing potentially disastrous relegations on them.
“They are supposed to be the custodians of our national game and NOTHING they have done has been positive for Scottish football.”
Hearts owner Ann Budge, who previously threatened to take the SPFL to court if the Jambos were relegated, has been placed in joint-charge of a task-force aimed at coming up with an acceptable proposal for league reconstruction alongside Hamilton supremo Les Gray.
Such a plan could salvage Hearts’ top-flight status but would require an 11-1 majority from the Premiership and 75 per cent approval from the lower leagues.
And a disillusioned Murray suspects this is a case of passing the buck and shifting the blame when clubs do suffer a damaging drop.
Murray, who worked with Budge closely during his time in charge of the FoH, continued: “They’ve put Hamilton and Ann in charge of reconstruction, essentially.
“That requires the support of 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs. That’s not going to happen, is it? Everyone is just going to look after their own interests again.
“The SPFL are just passing the buck so they can’t be blamed when teams are relegated.”
Murray added: “It’s all going to get incredibly complicated but something has to be done about the future of Scottish football otherwise it may have no future at all.”
While Murray is unashamedly Hearts-daft, even writing a book about the club’s recovery from financial ruin – This is Our Story: How the Fans Kept Their Hearts Beating – it is his sympathy for Partick Thistle which shines particularly bright.
And he has likened the vote which will see the Jags dumped into League One to the infamous controversy surrounding the Florida count in the 2000 U.S. election.
He added: “Fans must be looking at this and thinking ‘what the hell is going on?’
“I’m a big Hearts fan and, if any club is to be relegated, it should be Hearts. We have been the worst team in the league by a country mile.
But look at Partick Thistle – they are one point adrift at the bottom of the Championship with a game in hand and better goal difference [than Queen of the South]! If they don’t take this to court, I’ll be surprised.
“You can’t possibly relegate a team in these circumstances; a decision which could put a club to the wall. Imagine a great club like Partick Thistle going to the wall because of a decision made in this U.S.-Election-Florida-2000 atmosphere. How can it stand?”