Dundee are refusing to be drawn into a war of words with Inverness Caley Thistle after their Championship rivals took aim at Dark Blues managing director John Nelms.
Caley today issued a 2000-word statement attacking the SPFL’s handling of the coronavirus shutdown, calling it “a disingenuous, incompetent shambles”.
They also contradicted a claim by league chief Neil Doncaster that no club had made allegations of bullying over the key vote which saw the three divisions below the Premiership curtailed.
Just days after Rangers devoted two sections of their long-awaited dossier to the Dark Blues’ controversial vote U-turn, chief executive Scot Gardiner and chairman Ross Morrison put last month’s events back under the microscope.
The Ibrox side hope to persuade clubs to instigate an independent investigation into the ballot at Tuesday’s general meeting.
Declaring their support for Gers’ proposal, Gardiner and Morrison said: “We believe that serious questions remain over the actions of the MD of one club during the now infamous vote on April 10 and what happened between the submission of their legally binding ‘No’ vote before the fake 5pm deadline.
“And five days later when they became the only club out of 42 to have ‘negotiations’ with the CEO and chairman of the SPFL and with ‘big hitters’ or persons unknown, before being allowed to vote for a second time.
“This time to carry the SPFL Board’s resolution with a Yes vote. A genuinely independent investigation is the only possible route to try and uncover what happened and it may or may not reveal the reasoning behind their apparently contradictory statements since then.”
Caley’s dig at Nelms comes a month after Gardiner – a former Dundee chief executive and Rangers commercial sales manager – read out private WhatsApp messages involving the Dens Park club on live radio.
The Dark Blues managing director was angry they had entered the public domain.
Last week the leaked exchanges involving several Championship clubs formed part of Rangers’ dossier.
Speaking on April 30, Nelms said: “It’s unbelievable. The way that was handled was not business-like and was very poor.
“It has caused a lot of bad blood throughout the league, the way that was done, taking private messages and putting them out there.
“Of course, they have been taken out of context at some levels because you don’t know exactly what was going on and what the conversations were.
“There were a lot of conversations going on at that time, loads of them, so you don’t get the full context of it but you do get one view and that’s what they wanted.”
Meanwhile, Inverness say they were willing to testify to an allegation of bullying which they insist was reported on the day it occurred.
The statement said: “Without going into the specifics at this time, please know that we will testify to the bullying and threats made against our club on Friday 10th (of April) by an SPFL board member and the threats against others by the same SPFL board member.
“These threats were ‘reported back to the centre’ and to the SPFL CEO directly on the day with evidence at any genuine independent investigation with the proper and appropriate scope, should there be one, or at any further subsequent action thereafter.
“These were threats and not robust conversations.”
Inverness, who finished runners-up in the Championship but will be denied promotion, issued the statement shortly after Doncaster told BBC Radio Scotland that discussions around the vote were “robust” but not out of the ordinary.
The SPFL chief said: “No club has reported bullying to me and as far as I’m aware to (chairman) Murdoch MacLennan either.
“Clearly there are robust exchanges between clubs. We were aware particularly in the Championship that these robust conversations were ongoing but nobody reported any bullying to me.
“A number of people expressed concerns about language that was used. There were suggestions, I believe, that if the resolution didn’t pass then there might be an attempt to change the distribution mechanism in the Championship and perhaps make it more equal. That is the sort of discussion you would expect to go on.
“That’s what happens when you have got these rough, tough business people in the game. There are no shrinking violets.
“We expect there to be robust conversations. That’s wholly different from someone making a formal complaint of coercion or bullying, and that hasn’t happened.
“If any club has evidence of bullying and wishes to make a formal complaint then they should do so and it will be dealt with in a formal way.”