COWDENBEATH said league reconstruction is an “attention diverting sideshow” and Hearts chief Ann Budge’s proposals show “little empathy” for lower division sides. 

Club secretary and finance director David Allan said fundamental questions about a safe return for football, the financial impact and what happens if a second wave occurs have not been addressed while the game was mired in “rancour and rumours” and “nebulous allegations of coercion and bullying”. 

He said he had sympathy for clubs being relegated in “these unique circumstances” but said that “coronavirus doesn’t do fair” and that Cowden had also lost out, with a possible promotion denied by the season’s premature end. 

He said: “We have accepted that without shouting from the rooftops about sporting integrity.”

In the club newsletter, Mr Allan stated: “So much time has been taken up by rancour and rumours; suggestions that we indulge ourselves in independent investigations; nebulous allegations of coercion and bullying; the Lowland/Highland League solution for one club missing out on possible promotion is that two should just be promoted; oft-rejected Colts proposals that were already looked at with an open mind are reheated and portrayed as ’no-brainers’; unicorn statements are made that there should be no losers; the reconstruction merry-go–round is set whirling aimlessly; QC’s statements are bandied around as if they had been handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai – all that is meat and drink for the media in the absence of any on field action but does little to tackle the core challenges that face us.”

The update for supporters said: “Our fundamental approach has never changed. We were clear that football was a secondary concern in this societal crisis. 

“A sense of perspective was required. 

“On the football front, we need to get through the crisis and emerge on the other side as best we can. 

“That was where the energy, resources, attention and collective wit and wisdom of Scottish football should be deployed. 

“Instead of 100 per cent focus though there were a series of attention diverting sideshows. 

“The navel gazing and politicking has become tiresome.”

The Blue Brazil director said it was far more important to focus on the economics and logistics of closed door games and the return to action, the financial impact on clubs’ budgets in areas like hospitality and merchandising, advertising, sponsorship, events, season ticket sales, the fan experience and potential alternative income streams. 

Questions about a safe return to training, playing and spectating, and the costs of testing, have still to be addressed, as well as whether next season should be “an emergency or standalone season” with, for example, play-offs and perhaps even promotion being suspended. 

He said: “What happens if a second wave of coronavirus emerges before all the games are played? 

“We don’t want a return to squabbles and votes. We need to know in advance what happens in such a case or if a club/s can’t complete the season.”

He said league reconstruction had been an unnecessary diversion and explained: “The bottom line is that we already have a structure that works. 

“From day one of lockdown reconstruction was not the key issue facing the Scottish game.”

When the reconstruction task force was set up however, the club helped pull together the nine other clubs in the division “to co-operate for the good of the game” and “to ensure League Two clubs did not just have some unpalatable structure foisted upon us”. 

A compromise position of three leagues of 14-14-14 was reached, if not finalised. 

Once the Premier League clubs “stopped the task force in its tracks”, however, the clubs became aware a proposal from Ms Budge was to be put forward but with no consultation with League Two clubs. 

Mr Allan said: “We would rather have expected efforts by Ann to seek out the views and key issues that impact on clubs at every level and to build a proposal taking into account these varying constituencies designed to pass the voting hurdles – it is acknowledged though that may of course not be possible hence why she has not attempted to do so!

“No offence to Ann, but her past comments on the smaller clubs in Scotland can’t help but lead many such clubs to believe she has little empathy for their situation. 

“Ann’s paper did state, ‘In short, the Premiership needs Hearts more than the Championship does. The Championship needs Partick Thistle more than the lower leagues do’. 

“That does not help win hearts and minds. 

“A 42 club solution is required but it is now suggested that Ann’s clear focus is on a 14 team Premiership and effectively suggests beyond that do what you like! 

“Well we like the established 12-10-10-10 at this particular juncture and instead of an ongoing reconstruction sideshow we would prefer all to be fully focused on how we can all get back to playing and spectating in Scotland.” 

He continued: “The claim in Ann’s paper, ‘The widely accepted and much debated unfairness and unjustness of relegating clubs as a result of the early termination of season 2019/20’, does not wholly resonate with us. 

“Of course we have a great deal of sympathy with clubs being relegated in these unique circumstances. But let’s just get real – coronavirus doesn’t do fair. 

“In the football world there are going to be losers. 

“Cowdenbeath FC missing out on a potential play-off and possible promotion being one of them. 

“We have accepted that without shouting from the rooftops about sporting integrity. 

“Her second key point is, ‘The need to implement a more flexible league structure to cope with the huge challenges facing clubs of all sizes, as they fight to survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic’. 

“Now we are not seeking any reconstruction but acknowledge that next season may be an exceptional one which may require some emergency measures and flexibility as a bridge to back to normality hopefully in 2021/22 – e.g. delayed starts for some of the leagues, no play-offs, abbreviated season, etc. 

“That is largely a focus on how we make it work rather than necessarily reshuffling the pack. 
“Our energy here needs to be targeted on ensuring Cowdenbeath FC can operate logistically and financially and look after its people in what is likely an exceptional situation in 2020/21.”