Stewart Regan said Scottish football should think about the bigger picture
Scottish football should sacrifice self-interest and focus on its future after coronavirus, says former Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan.
Regan, now a Fifa and Uefa consultant, said “football needs to put its foot on the ball” and carefully consider how it recovers following the pandemic.
Potential league reconstruction in Scotland may be the answer, he added.
“Whatever happens, it can’t involve looking after the interests of a minority,” he told the BBC.
“Everybody needs to work together and come up with a plan that might not be perfect but it’s workable.
“What has to disappear is self-interest.”
Regan stepped down from the SFA in 2018 after eight years in the role. During his time in Scotland, the Scottish Premier League merged with the Scottish Football League to become the Scottish Professional Football League but all four senior divisions remained the same with 12 in the top flight and 10 each in the second, third and fourth tiers.
With the Championship and Leagues One and Two declared over last month and the Premiership suspended, a reconstruction panel is assessing whether to change the 12-10-10-10 model.
A 14-14-14 set-up involving the existing 42 senior clubs and a 14-14-16 proposal that would add the Highland and Lowland League champions have been discussed.
“I’ve heard discussions around reconstruction of the leagues and clearly that would address the fears of some of the clubs sitting in the Premiership, the Championship and in League One,” said Regan.
“But in my opinion you cannot have a solution that isn’t fair and equitable for everyone. If there is a plan to include relegation, then that should be right across the board, including out of League Two and into the Highland and Lowland Leagues.
“If there’s going to be reconstruction to increase the number of teams in each division, perhaps to protect against legal challenges, equally in my opinion, that should include the clubs that would’ve had the chance to come up into the football league.”
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Regan believes a move to fewer, larger leagues may be “temporary”.
And he added: “Self-interest must be put to one side – there will be clubs trying to save themselves from relegation and there will be other clubs trying to ensure they get promotion and clubs outside the league who think, ‘what about us? Shouldn’t we have an opportunity to play to get into the league?’ Actually, all of those things should be on the table.
“Whilst it is a livelihood for some, at the heart of everything is the safety and well-being of people in this country. No matter what we all think, football has to take a back seat until those safety issues are addressed. It’s tragic to see all the people who are losing their lives, including key workers, nursing staff and doctors.
“That’s why football can’t rush this. We can’t risk starting the season again and then another wave of coronavirus blowing up, somebody catching the disease, getting the virus and having to self isolate, then everything grinds to a halt again.”