St Johnstone have defended their role in the breakdown of league reconstruction talks, claiming that rushing plans that could affect TV income would have been “negligent and reckless”.
Saints were reported to be among six Ladbrokes Premiership clubs who effectively kiboshed plans to alter the league structure after talks were begun with a view to protecting clubs consigned to relegation by votes to end the season with games remaining.
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack said on behalf of the top-flight clubs that a crisis was considered the wrong time to consider immediate reconstruction and efforts would be focused on getting back to play football safely.
The development drew a furious reaction from the likes of Hearts, Partick Thistle, Inverness and Falkirk, for whom the failure of reconstruction efforts is set to deny a chance to play at a higher level.
St Johnstone stated that chairman Steve Brown had been a “vocal supporter” of reconstruction for years and the club had been “heavily involved” in aborted attempts to reform the leagues in 2012-13.
Their statement added: “It was more than apparent prior to our discussions last Friday that the majority of clubs both in the Premiership and elsewhere wanted a permanent solution.
“With this in mind, we were of the opinion that it was unrealistic to overcome the many intricacies and complexities involved in pushing through any reconstruction proposals in such a short space of time.
“We were concerned that there was a potential risk to the broadcast deal which is the only realistic source of income for all 42 clubs for the foreseeable future. In our opinion, it would be negligent and reckless to do something with the knowledge that it could likely have a detrimental effect to income sources.
“Lastly, we are keen to stress that the issue of league reconstruction should not be taken off the table and we remain open to future discussions.”
St Mirren also clarified their position after being reported as one of the clubs who had scuppered change.
The Buddies, whose chairman Gordon Scott sat on the reconstruction task force, said: “At the meeting our chairman clearly stated that we were in favour of continuing reconstruction talks but only if it was a permanent change for the benefit of Scottish football.
“We also made it clear that any final decision would be made by the St Mirren board.”
Celtic expressed understanding with clubs who could not support change.
“Although Celtic are not directly involved in issues of promotion and relegation, we have great sympathy for clubs which will end up in a lower division,” they said.
“While we have been supportive of temporary reconstruction, Celtic also understands the position of clubs who do not support league reconstruction at this time.”