Scottish Premier League: 5 Ways to Make It More Exciting
The SPL has been on the wane since the early '90s.
Money has dried up, big-name players have left, managers have moved south and youth players have not fulfilled their potential.
Some clubs have even gone out of business.
However, there are, I believe, several ways to improve the Scottish Premier League and make it more exciting.
Let's have a look.
This one seems like a no-brainer.
In the past week, Scotland has endured hurricane-force winds, ice, snow and fog—and we've only just entered December.
The weather is bound to deteriorate further and games will definitely be called off, like this past Saturday's Dunfermline-Kilmarnock game was.
The top dogs at the SFA have been considering moving the Scottish season from its current August-May setup to March-November, which would bring it in line with the likes of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia, who all lie on the same longitude as Scotland on the world map.
This change would give Scottish clubs an edge in the European competitions of August, and would also increase stadium attendances, as fans are more likely to go to games in the warm summer months rather than the cold, wet winter days.
And to top it all off, the standard of football would improve too due to the excellent footballing conditions.
Why hasn't this change been implemented already?!
Extend Number of Teams in the League
There are currently 12 teams in the Scottish Premier League.
This is an unusual setup, as there are very few other, if any, leagues in Europe with twelve sides in their top division.
The strange total number also means that the SPL has to split in half after 33 games, and then play another five matches to bring it up to 38.
Why are the SFA allowing such a convoluted system to still exist?
It's clear for all to see that the SPL should extend their league to 16, 18 or 20 teams. The top leagues in the world all have one of those numbers, and it makes the division far simpler, easier to follow, and also more competitive.
Boot out the Old Firm
A radical step. But one that could be taken to make the SPL more exciting.
At the moment, Celtic and Rangers dominate the Scottish football scene with no club anywhere near close to ending their reign.
However, with the Old Firm gone to England, the Scottish game would thrive, with the likes of Motherwell, Dundee United, Hearts and Kilmarnock vying for the title.
Although the chances of this happening are very slim, it's definitely something that would make the game north of the border more exciting.
Introduce a Salary Cap
The MLS used this rule to good effect, so why can't the SPL?
Scottish clubs have been burdened in recent years by big-money signings who have utterly flopped. Players like Bobo Balde, James Beattie, Tore-Andre Flo and Raphael Scheidt are just some who spent years at the Old Firm, draining £20,000 or even £30,000 from the club every week, while talented youths, earning a pittance, sat out.
But with the introduction of a salary cap, overpaid players in Scotland would become a thing of the past, giving youngsters the chance to shine and play attractive, attacking football.
Extra Point for Teams Who Score 3 Goals or More
Goals = excitement.
Nobody wants to go to a football match to watch two teams play for a draw. Nobody wants to see one side sit back after taking a one-nil lead.
So to that end, why don't the SFA bosses offer the incentive of an extra point if a team score more than three goals?
If this rule was brought into force, teams like Motherwell and Dundee United would be trying their hardest to score as many goals as possible—not only to give themselves more points in the race for European places, but also to ensure the fans get their money's worth.
However, like the rest of these suggestions, this idea is unlikely to be implemented anytime soon.
Despite the fact that Scottish football fans are crying out for radical change, the chiefs at Hampden Park seem to be reluctant to give it.
But what's clear is that something needs to be done, and done fast.