PARTICK Thistle chief executive Gerry Britton has insisted that certain Championship clubs “felt threatened” during the vote to bring the lower league campaign to a premature end – but said the Jags are not one of them.

Inverness released a statement on Sunday where the Highland side said that bullying did take place over the resolution to end the season and while Britton was careful not to accuse anyone of coercion, the Firhill chief says that teams were left with no option but to vote in favour of the proposal after being strong-armed by others.

“You have to be really careful about the wording of it,” Britton said. “I know bullying and coercion has been bandied about but I would say I’m definitely party to the fact that clubs felt threatened with the Championship.

“They felt they had been led down an alley and there was only one option put in place. You are looking at clubs that are cash-strapped and desperate and looking at this potential abyss.

“They are provided with the prospect of being able to bring in much-needed funds but within a proposal that was two-fold. That was the problem right from the outset. That set in motion a chain of events that created this division. I have no gripe with any club that voted to bring in much-needed revenue at this time. It would be a very brave man to say they would do otherwise.

“But the issue is intertwined in that vote was the prospect of relegation for teams that were unwarranted. That’s where the self-interest and division kicked in. That was the root of it.

“We were never bullied, threatened or coerced. They maybe realised the way we were going to vote would be pretty straightforward. But for clubs that were more unsure, there were definitely those threats made.

“The threats I’m aware of came from a member of the SPFL board to a fellow Championship club. I’m not party to the exact wording but I’ve no reason to doubt it did happen in the way it has been portrayed.”

Britton says that he was left frustrated by the manner in which the voting process took place, arguing that clubs were given insufficient time to consider and debate the SPFL’s resolution to conclude the season and thus release much-needed prize funds.

The Thistle chief executive said that clubs were given just 20 minutes to discuss “the most farcical reading of a detailed resolution” he has ever experienced – and reckons that legally, Dundee’s initial ‘no’ vote should have resulted in a defeat for the proposal.

“We received the 29-page proposal in the meeting, so we had around 20 minutes to debate it with the executive,” he said. “Is there any voting situation where you come out and give the result before all the votes are cast?

“In company law, once a vote has been communicated electronically it has been cast. So legally the resolution should have failed. It could have been run again but surely if you look at that, you think that isn’t the best way to do things.

“My issue was with the process. The way that the SPFL board put in line this chain of events that led to the proposal and that is why I feel that there should be an independent inquiry. I think that Neil [Doncaster] and the other board members have to have a look at the way they have behaved and their actions throughout this process.

“I appreciate it’s a very tough job but logistically and where we’ve got to, unfortunately a lot of that sits at the feet of the executive and the board, and the decisions and the practices that they put in place.”

In their statement on Sunday, Inverness said that they felt the creation of a reconstruction group was doomed to fail from the outset and that some teams felt “deceived” by the prospect of change being implemented.

Britton concurred that negotiating a successful outcome would have always been difficult in practice but said that he always hoped that clubs would have acted to ensure that no team was left worse off than they were going into the crisis. And the 49-year-old still holds out hope that reconstruction will be raised again before the 2020/21 season begins.

“We were realistic,” he said. “We knew that it was going to be a really, really hard task to get through, particularly if you’re altering distribution models.

“I can see the arguments and I knew it was going to be a big ask to get it through but you are forever hopeful and optimistic that ethos of nobody being worse off would have prevailed, but unfortunately it hasn’t seemed to at this stage.

“I genuinely feel that there are a lot of clubs that feel that reconstruction should be on the agenda but it is just the timing. Nobody has got a crystal ball but it may well be that by the time we get our game back up and running to any semblance that it is revisited. But I think a lot of clubs feel there is too many differentials to consider just now.

“The only thing we have right now is time. We can be creative or innovative. We have no league sponsor for next season, so we have a chance to be innovative and the world is our oyster. We had a big issue to deal with, we should have dealt with that and in tandem we should have looked at potential options to look towards when we get through this.”