SPL KEEN FOR DECISION
Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster believes any new financial fair play rules must be in place by the start of next season after talks on the issue were postponed until next week.
The 12 top-flight clubs were set to discuss proposals that could result in tougher sanctions for clubs who go into administration or liquidation at Monday's general meeting at Hampden.
However, they unanimously agreed to adjourn the discussion until May 7, at a time when administration-hit Rangers - who could be most affected by the changes - are attempting to find a new buyer.
Doncaster said: "We are only two weeks before the end of the season so ultimately it's important that things do happen as soon as possible.
"Certainly, it would be helpful to have firm rules in place by the start of next season.
"It's important that any club starting the season does have the clarity as to how they are going to be dealt with in that season.
"It's difficult to change these sorts of rules within a season and that's the reason why the proposals on the table would have taken effect on the first day after the current season.
"I think the view to strengthen the financial fair play rules is widely agreed with by the clubs. But quite how they are amended and how they are moved forward does remain a piece of work that needs further work."
If passed, the new rules would see clubs docked the greater of 15 points or a third of their SPL points in the preceding season for going into administration.
The current punishment is a 10-point deduction, which was suffered by Rangers when they called in the administrators in February.
Clubs who go into liquidation and re-enter the SPL as a 'newco' would be docked 10 points for two seasons and see their league payments slashed by 75% for three seasons.
The proposals also state that clubs must pay their players on time and clubs must report to the SPL any failure to make payments to HMRC in respect of PAYE and NIC.
Asked if a vote will take place at next Monday's meeting, Doncaster replied: "Who can say?
"We expected some clarity today and, given everything that's going on, given the fact there's a need to put in place proposals that don't simply cover one club and are in fact suitable for 12 clubs, the view was that this should be adjourned until next week.
"Clubs felt that this was a sensitive time within Scottish football and that it was important to allow a little bit of time to elapse to allow more clarity to come forward and to do nothing at the moment that may prejudice any decisions that are going on in the background."
Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps said hopes of naming a preferred bidder had been hindered by the SPL's announcement of potential rule changes earlier this month.
But, when put to Doncaster that a delay in voting could further hamper that process, he pointed out the Glasgow giants also agreed to today's adjournment.
He said: "The fact that all 12 clubs were in favour of adjourning the meeting today to allow there to be the time for further discussions elsewhere indicates that actually everyone was pretty happy with the outcome today."
Brian Kennedy and the Blue Knights - fronted by former Ibrox director Paul Murray - have submitted a revised bid for Rangers, with American tycoon Bill Miller also in the running to take over the club.
Doncaster said: "Things are moving on with quite a pace at the moment.
"We have had discussions already with one of the bidder's teams and we will shortly be having discussions with the other bidder's teams as well.
"Like everyone involved in Scottish football, the need for clarity, the need for things to be brought forward to a conclusion is evident.
"In those circumstances, it was important not to do anything today which may be seen to be complicating that discussion.
"Things can have unintended consequences so it was important that we understand more about what is going on and what is favoured so that we can take the right decisions in relation to financial fair play."
Miller, in particular, has sought greater clarity on SPL and Scottish Football Association sanctions as a condition of his bid and will now have to wait at least another seven days for a clearer idea of how SPL rules might affect Rangers.
Doncaster said: "Well, the current rules still apply at the moment.
"If there was to be an application for the transfer of shares to a 'newco', that decision would be the SPL board's. Those rules remain in place.
"Given how fast moving the situation is, the view was that the best thing to do at the moment, rather than rush through rules that may have unintended consequences, is to have a further period of reflection and a further discussion of those rules and come back to the meeting next Monday, by which time the situation may well have moved on slightly."
SPL clubs also agreed today to adjourn a discussion on reforms to the current voting structure until next Monday.
(reopens) Rangers manager Ally McCoist has spoken of a 'newco' Rangers dropping down to the Irn-Bru Third Division as maybe being morally correct if the club do go into liquidation.
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston was asked what effect such a scenario would have on SPL clubs as he left Hampden following today's meeting.
He told STV: "There are conflicting issues of sporting integrity and commercial expediency.
"It's a question of trying to find a balance between those two.
"Whatever the outcome is, I don't think everybody will be happy with it."
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