SPFL clubs opposed to strict liability - Mike Mulraney

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland
Alloa Athletic chairman Mike Mulraney
Alloa chairman Mike Mulraney sits on the SPFL board

Alloa Athletic chairman Mike Mulraney says Scottish clubs are widely opposed to the idea of introducing new strict liability rules.

Recent cases of sectarian chanting and the use of smoke bombs and flares have prompted a discussion within the Scottish Professional Football League.

All 42 SPFL clubs met at Hampden on Tuesday.

"I think there's no chance whatsoever of clubs agreeing to strict liability. That's pretty unanimous," he said.

SPFL board member Mulraney feels clubs should not be punished if they do all they can to prevent unruly behaviour.

"I've come against strict liability in the past and will continue to do so. It is not the answer, it is the one system that is proven to fail repeatedly and I'm sure it would fail again," said Mulraney.

"If clubs don't take the reasonable steps to ensure that doesn't happen then they should be punished. But if they do what's reasonable, should they be punished for something that they've no control over? No."

However, Kilmarnock director Michael Johnson believes clubs should be docked league points if their fans cannot behave.

"It's the only ultimate sanction that is really going to focus supporters minds on how damaging it is to their club," said Johnson.

"If you want the supporters to behave appropriately you have to have the sanction of imposing a points penalty I think."

Strict liability, where clubs can be punished for the conduct of its fans regardless of whether the club itself is to blame, is used by Uefa for European competitions.

Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson
Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson raised league restructuring as an item for discussion

But it is up to member countries to decide whether to adopt such rules.

Also at Tuesday's meeting of the clubs, which preceded a summit of Mulraney and his fellow SPFL board members, the issue of league restructuring was discussed.

Falkirk chairman Doug Henderson raised the possibility of expanding the Premiership from 12 teams to 16.

But representatives say no firm proposals were put forward with a three-year moratorium not to reorganise the four senior divisions ending later this year.

Speaking afterwards, Henderson told BBC Scotland: "I'm confident that the SPFL clubs recognise the need to look at the game, they need to look at the structures and look at the issues affecting football.

"I think it's a step forward today. There's a recognition by my colleagues and the clubs round Scotland that we need to address the issues that are affecting the game at the moment.

"[These issues include] the lack of young players coming into full-time football at an early enough time and the view of supporters, from big club supporters to small club supporters, that playing each other four times a season is not attractive and we need to have a more attractive structure.

"Whatever we do, we have to have the TV companies on board, finding it an attractive structure."

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