Scottish Premiership clubs to discuss 14-14-16 reconstruction proposal

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland
Paul McGinn and Aaron Doran
Could Hibs and Inverness be playing in an expanded top flight next season?

Scottish Premiership clubs will discuss a proposal for a 14-14-16 model of league reconstruction later this week.

The panel assessing restructuring has been working on the expanded leagues idea as one of a number of potential options.

A 14-14-16 set-up would expand the top tier by two and invite Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts into the bottom tier.

That would expand the 42 senior clubs to 44 and reduce the number of divisions from four to three.

The 15-strong reconstruction group met on Monday and the 14-14-16 option will be discussed by top-flight clubs on Thursday to see if there is enough support for it.

BBC Scotland has learned the plan would only be formally recommended as the preferred option to all 42 clubs if it is clear there is enough support for the proposal at all levels of the game.

An 11-1 vote in the top flight would be required for any change to the articles of association involved in inviting the Highland and Lowland League champions Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts into the proposed 16-team bottom tier. And a 75% approval across the lower leagues in addition to the 11-1 majority in the Premiership would be required for a plan to pass.

The 10 current Scottish League Two clubs have agreed to back a 14-14-14 structure that would maintain the existing 42 senior clubs in three divisions. If the 10 only support their plan, the 14-14-16 model would not get enough support overall.

Under a 14-14-16 model, bottom side Hearts would remain in the Premiership even if the currently suspended top flight is halted early, as has been the case in the Championship and Leagues One and Two. Championship winners Dundee United and runners-up Inverness Caledonian Thistle would join the existing 12 top-flight clubs.

Partick Thistle - relegated from the Championship - would stay in the second tier, where they would be joined by the top six in League One, including champions Raith Rovers and second-placed Falkirk.

Agreement in principle on 14-14-16 would be sought before further detail emerges about league splits, play-offs, promotion and relegation.

A 14-team league would be likely to split after 26 games either into two leagues of seven, or into a top six and bottom eight.

A 16-team league would have the option for clubs to play each other twice, split at 30 games and play seven more games. The second, third and fourth tiers currently have a 36-game campaign.

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