sport

Shiels wants government help

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels thinks half-price football underwritten by government subsidies is the best way forward for the Scottish game.

The Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League have both recently revealed separate restructuring plans but, despite the widespread desire for change,

there is unlikely to be a consensus reached any time soon.

Ahead of the visit of St Johnstone in the SPL on Saturday, Shiels revealed his own big idea for the rejuvenation of the game.

He said: "Cut the cost of admission by half. If it is 24 to get in then make it 12.

"If that doesn't get twice as many supporters in then the government should have to subsidise the shortfall.

"I think the government owes football.

"People are drifting away because they can't afford it and it has to be addressed.

"You can't say the product is not good, I defy anyone to say that there is not entertainment being provided.

"Football is the industry in Scotland and it has to be given subsidy if it is having problems.

"It is contentious but it is for the greater good of Scotland.

"It is part of the heritage and culture so to improve Scotland and the lives of all the people, that is what has to be done, after all that is what a government is for."

The Northern Irishman believes that the fractured structure of Scottish football, where the Scottish Football Association presides over the SPL and the SFL,

means change is unlikely to be imminent.

"I think that it will be difficult to arrive at a conclusion until we have one body," he said.

"I don't think three associations work. There are too many people jockeying for position.

"If you have one governing body - with support from the actual government - it would lend itself to a good system.

"That would encourage people at the top to do what's best for football.

"It is human nature to do what is best for yourself and then what's best for football.

"That is not a criticism, that is just human nature."

Shiels will be without Liam Kelly against St Johnstone - and possibly for three months - because of a shoulder ligament injury,

The midfielder, who won his first Scotland cap in the friendly against Luxembourg last week, is to have a scan today.

Shiels said: "We have just got Paul Heffernan, Cammy Bell and James Fowler back and

now we have lost Liam which is a bit of a blow.

"There is some ligament damage to his shoulder after falling on the training ground in an accident.

"I don't know the exact terminology but if he has torn the ligament or ruptured them, it could be three months, but it could be six weeks.

"We are hoping to find out in the next 48 hours."