Steven Gerrard has called the SPFL’s handling of the end of the season an ‘absolute mess’ and has called for an external investigation into the league’s governing body.
The Championship and Leagues One and Two have all been cancelled in Scottish football following a vote between representative clubs, with the final vote seeing Dundee – who had previously intended to vote against the proposal – change their view and backing the resolution to end the season.
The decision means that Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers are crowned champions of their respective leagues, with Partick Thistle and Stranraer relegated.
The passing of the resolution also means the SPFL have the power to end the Scottish Premiership as it stands, should the resumption of the top flight be deemed impossible.
Rangers had previously called for a suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster amid concerns over influence in voting, and Gerrard has backed his side’s stance after witnessing what he describes as ‘a mess’.
“I’ve been watching closely from back home and it does seem a bit of a mess at the moment,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“I think Rangers’ stance on it, and certainly my stance on it, is I’ll let the suits carry on doing what they’re doing, I think that’s their job to continue to represent Rangers in that way.
SPFL Resolution Approved By Clubs In All Four Divisions.
— SPFL (@spfl) April 15, 2020
“But from afar, the SPFL looks an absolute mess, in all honesty. I’m watching ex-players, pundits and reading media and it’s getting absolutely battered from pillar to post for the way it’s handled things, certainly in the last couple of days.
“From my point of view, all I ask is for the main leader of the SPFL [Murdoch MacLennan] to show some real leadership in this time, and I think what he has to do now, because there are so many accusations and doubts and questions about this institution, he needs to allow an independent investigation in the set-up, to prove everyone wrong and make sure there is fairness, and transparency across the board in Scotland.
“There are so many doubts now, certainly looking in over the last few days, it’s so confusing there at the moment.
“The SPFL have said they’re open to an internal investigation and I don’t really agree with that because you shouldn’t be allowed to mark your own homework. If you mark your own homework, you’re always going to finish top of the class and there’s not going to be any questions asked.
“For me, there needs to be an expert, an investigator, or a forensic investigator, who should come in and look at everything across the board with the SPFL. And if everything’s clean and everything’s fair and everything’s transparent then all the accusations, all the bad media, all the pundits can’t slam the organisation and everyone can move forward in the right direction.”
Gerrard added that concerns of Rangers and himself were not in the conducting of a vote to end the season, but how the need for end-of-season payments for a number of clubs may have influenced their vote.
“I don’t think anyone has got any problems with how the SPFL have gone about it in terms of the vote, it’s because everyone feels that everyone has been backed into a corner to give that vote,” Gerrard added.
Steven Gerrard has called the SPFL's handling of the resolution vote an 'absolute mess'.
The Rangers boss has called for and independent investigation into the situation and wants SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan to 'show leadership'. pic.twitter.com/YtoUCRVeJZ
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) April 16, 2020
“Basically they’re saying no money can be given out until you make that vote. So if you’re a team in the middle of the league and you’re safe from relegation and you’re not involved in promotion or play-offs, or to win anything, you’re bound to vote ‘yes’ because you want your money straight away and you might be in financial difficulties.
“So that’s not really a fair vote. That’s the reason why they’ve managed to get 81 per cent of the votes.
“If they do end up doing [something similar in] England, the resolution Rangers suggested and a few other clubs backed was, can’t they give a certain amount of the money out, so all the worries about financial situations are taken out of the equation and then you can actually give a fair vote across the board.”