Writing in his Daily Record column, former Rangers captain, Barry Ferguson, has called for a restructuring of the Scottish Premiership if the league season is ended early.
All professional and grassroots football under SFA jurisdiction has been suspended until further notice [SPFL.co.uk], and there are concerns that even if Euro 2021 is suspended, there won’t be sufficient time to complete the current domestic season [Daily Record].
However, Ferguson says that idea doesn’t sit well with him. That’s despite being in charge of Lowland League side Kelty Hearts, who are pushing for promotion to the SPFL.
“I’m not expecting the title to be handed to us [Kelty Hearts] – not when we can still be caught,” he wrote in the Daily Record.
“Mathematically, Celtic are catchable – that’s the bottom line. It might not happen and with the form Rangers are in it looks unlikely. But at what point do you say, ‘OK, the league will end and all those at the top are crowned champions’?
“What if after this break the momentum shifts back in Rangers’ favour like it swung towards Celtic after the winter break?”
He goes on to suggest that the best solution would be to not award titles but to promote those excelling in the Championship and expand the top-flight from next season.
“Teams are fighting at the top and bottom of every division,” he continued. “So, if the season was to end, perhaps the best thing would be to expand the leagues with promotion but no relegation.”
“I have always said that a 16-club Premiership would be better. Overall it would benefit Scottish football because you would not be playing teams so many times.”
This is an interesting take from Ferguson and one that hasn’t been voiced much elsewhere.
He’s fallen in with fellow former Gers midfielder Alex Rae and many Rangers fans in denouncing Celtic’s right to a title they have not yet mathematically secured.
The idea of expanding the league isn’t completely alien either. The very same solution is reportedly under consideration in Germany, too.
The DFL and DFB are considering ending the Bundesliga season after this weekend, according to the Express. No trophy would be awarded and no relegation would take place. Instead, the Bundesliga would be expanded to 22 teams for 2020-21 with the top four teams from the second tier
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) March 12, 2020
A twelve team top-flight is small in comparison to others in Europe and perhaps a bigger pool of teams would create more interest and promote homegrown talent.
Clearly, it would take a lot of negotiation and planning to pull off and would have repercussions the whole way down the SPFL pyramid.
Yet, given there’s set to be an extended period without football, there should be plenty of time for the powers that be to look at all the options and work out exactly what is and isn’t possible going forward.