Friday, January 7, 2011

Scottish Football League Change(s) Could Send Talent to MLS

The SFL has announce they will put changes to vote in an attempt to raise the the profile of Scottish football. The SFL which governs all professional Scottish football is looking to change the topflight, Scottish Premier League, to a 10 team league. The league currently contains 12 teams, and the league officials believe a 10 team league will help restructure TV money allocations to team as well as make the league more competitive. The second division would also be re-configured to 10 teams with the bottom teams in division 1 playing the top teams of division 2 in a playoff to determine promotion and relegation.

Many Scottish clubs and fans have spoken against these league changes. They feel this will make the league rather monotonous with each team playing an uneven schedule in a 38 match season. Many already feel the season becomes boring when teams can play each other 2, 3, 4 or 5 times in a season. Similar to MLS, Don Garber has stated the league may have an uneven schedule to promote rivalry and make the playoffs mean more. However, look at attendance and fan satisfaction in Scotland he should understand why so many are against this idea.

Many of the clubs and fans alike have called for a 16 team top flight with a total of 32 matches. They've also called for a playoff to determine the league champion, which has been denounced by both Celtic and Rangers. The two teams have won the Scottish top flight every season since 1984-85 when Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen broke up the Celtic/Rangers stranglehold. Rangers have amassed 53 Scottish titles to Celtic's 42 in the history of Scottish football. All non-Ranger and Celtic supporters can sympathize with the desire for change.

Another change that many are calling for is a schedule change that would mirror MLS and the Scandinavian countries. Winter weather tends to cause fixture cancellation in Scotland, as well as pitches becoming so torn apart they should be deemed unplayable for topflight football. However, SFA officials seem to think a spring to fall schedule is ludicrous.

If the SFA changes the league to 10 teams it could send Scottish talent to MLS. We've already seen Colorado's Jamie Smith, amongst others, who rather than take a step down in clubs( from Aberdeen) leave Scottish football for MLS. With two less teams in the topflight we could see many Scottish players migrate to MLS. Many Scottish players salary is on par with the mid to higher earning MLS players and last season Robbie Keane became the highest paid player in Scottish football history during his loan spell at Celtic.

Scottish football is in a shambles these days, and if these league changes take affect I think we will see Scottish football all but extinct. However, the good news for Celtic and Rangers is it could finally open up the English Premier League and English Football League to the idea of adding Scotland's two biggest teams.

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