Neil Doncaster: SPFL had ‘no alternative’ Premiership start date

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has been criticised amid the shutdown of Scottish football

The SPFL had “no alternative” to starting the Scottish Premiership season on 1 August had an arbitration panel overturned Hearts’ relegation, admits chief executive Neil Doncaster.

Hearts and Partick Thistle unsuccessfully contested their demotions via the Court of Session.

Welcoming the outcome, Doncaster said the SPFL would be happy for the legal proceedings to be made public.

“We would have no issue with that whatsoever,” he told BBC Scotland.

“The advice that we’ve received is that they are confidential and the only way that could come into the public domain would be for all the parties to agree to make it available.”

Doncaster revealed the governing body had no back-up date in place to start the new campaign had the panel found against them.

“Frankly, there was no alternative,” Doncaster said. “We had a 1 August start date in mind. We always believed we had followed all the proper processes.”

On the opening weekend of the season, the Premiership still has no title sponsor after Ladbrokes’ association with the league ended.

Doncaster revealed he was poised to complete a deal with a new sponsor in March before lockdown.

“We agreed a deal in principle and then we all know what happened a few days later,” he said.

“We are back to square one. We’re in an environment which is clearly not attractive commercially, but we will do what we can to bring in as much money as possible.

“Ultimately, what matters is we deliver. I am confident we will deliver and ensure the money we pay out to clubs this season is at least as much as it was last season.”

BBC News