Gerrard calls for independent SPFL investigation

Steven Gerrard wants an independent probe into the SPFL's voting process, saying the league would be marking its own homework otherwise.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard: "All I ask is for the main leader of the SPFL to show some real leadership at this time."   -  Getty Images

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has called for an independent investigation into the Scottish Professional Football League's (SPFL) plans to bring an early end to the 2019-20 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scotland's Championship, League One and League Two have concluded their campaigns, with the current standings declared final, after a change of heart from Dundee saw the Championship club back SPFL plans.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers are champions of their respective divisions, while Partick Thistle and Stranraer will be relegated from the Championship and League One.

Crucially, as far as Gerrard and Rangers are concerned, the SPFL now has the power to end the top-flight season too having hit the threshold of 81 per cent backing from the country's 42 senior clubs – many of which feared for their futures without receipt of end-of-season payments.

Rangers is 13 points behind rival Celtic at the top of the Premiership but could still mathematically be champion. Last week, the Glasgow club issued a strongly worded statement asking for an investigation into the SPFL vote, questioning the integrity of the process, and Gerrard sounded a similar tone when speaking to Sky Sports – urging league chairman Murdoch MacLennan to take a lead on the matter.

'Absolute mess'

"I think Rangers' stance on it, and certainly my stance on it, is to let the suits carry on doing what they're doing at the moment. It's their job to continue to represent Rangers in that way," he said.

"But from afar the SPFL looks an absolute mess. I'm watching ex-players and pundits, I'm reading media and it's getting absolutely battered from pillar to post.

"All I ask is for the main leader of the SPFL to show some real leadership at this time. What he has to do now – because there are so many doubts, questions and accusations about this institution – is he needs to allow an independent investigation into the setup up there, to prove everything wrong and show there is transparency across the board."

No to internal investigation

Gerrard said the internal investigation proposed by the SPFL would be tantamount to the organisation marking its own homework. "The SPFL have said they're open to an internal investigation. I don't agree with that because you shouldn't be allowed to mark your own homework," he said.

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"You mark your own homework, you're always going to finish top of the class and there's not going to be any questions asked.

"So, for me, there needs to be an expert investigator who should come in and look at everything across the board with the SPFL."

Gerrard added: "Ideally I'd like to see everyone back playing and to finish the season off and that's how everyone wants to see it. But where we are right now, the main priority is everyone's health. Football is certainly secondary."

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"I've watched the SPFL – an organisation that I'm a big part of now – get absolutely slaughtered and I'm waiting for the leader Murdoch MacLennan to come out and show leadership and allow an outside investigator to come in, go right across the whole situation and show everything is clean."

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