STEWART Gilmour, the former St. Mirren chairman who called for the SFA and SPFL to amalgamate five years ago when he voted against league reconstruction, has welcomed the prospect of the two bodies merging in far-reaching overhaul of Scottish football.

However, Gilmour believes if proposals to radically revamp how the sport is run in this country amount to nothing more than a “power grab” by the biggest clubs it will be detrimental to the national game.

A series of high-profile SFA failures, which culminated in chief executive Stewart Regan being pressurised into resigning at the start of this month, have led to confidence in the governing body reaching an all-time low.

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Peter Lawwell, the Celtic chief executive, has called for there to “be a process of restructuring and reorganising that allows the SFA to be fit for purpose” - and a document examining how that could be achieved is now circulating among the leading clubs.

It is unlikely any changes will be made before the current broadcasting deal with BT Sport and Sky Sports expires at the end of the 2019/20 season – but those behind the proposals are keen to see them in place for the 2020/21 campaign in time for a potential Europa League revamp in 2024.

Gilmour urged the SFA and SPFL to join forces back in 2013 when he voted against proposals to move to a 12-12-18 league set-up. However, he gave a cautious welcome to the plans as he is concerned about the possible implications for smaller clubs, including his beloved St. Mirren.

“There’s no question it would be a good idea if they were all in one body,” he said. “There is currently a lack of confidence in the SFA, in their ability to do what they’re supposed to be doing.

“However, I would question the motives of something that is being driven by just a handful of clubs. Is this just in the interests of the big clubs? Or is it for the benefit of Scottish football as a whole? Who has written it? And what exactly is in it? That needs to be studied.

“I have seen it suggested the big clubs want control of governance, promotion and sponsorship. If that is the case, are they just wanting to handle the finance? That would be my concern. If it’s just a power grab then that will not be good for Scottish football.

“Let’s the honest, one of the biggest things the big clubs wanted was the youth set-up changed. But what good has that done for smaller clubs like St. Mirren which had a fantastic youth system?

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“The change to the youth policy contained in Project Brave has been detrimental to clubs like St. Mirren and others. They used to have really good youth policy which produced good players, but now they have been excluded.”

Gilmour, who hit the headlines last year when he claimed that club chairmen were unwilling to stand up to Lawwell and insisted the Celtic chief executive was effectively running Scottish football, fears the bigger clubs could grow even richer as a result of the overhaul, leaving their smaller rivals trailing even further behind.

Gilmour added: “There’s no question that the running of Scottish football should all be done by one organisation. The distribution of money should be handled by one organisation. Marketing and sponsorship should certainly be in one department.

“However, what would concern me is who is dictating the distribution of the marketing income. That has to be ascertained. The 12 biggest clubs have kept the largest percentage of that in the past. To my mind, they have kept too much money.

“The Premiership clubs keep 82 per cent of the income from the current broadcasting deal. The other 30 clubs share around 17 per cent. All this proposal could do is make the differential between the small clubs and the big clubs even greater.

“What is the real motive for all this? Is it change for the benefit of Scottish football? Or is it change for the benefit of the biggest clubs?”