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Hearts propose three leagues of 14 for next two seasons

Ann Budge has sent reconstruction plans to SPFL clubs ahead of league board meeting tomorrow.

Hearts have pitched their latest proposal for league reconstruction, which suggests three leagues of 14 for the next two seasons. 

Owner Ann Budge sent the plans to SPFL clubs this afternoon ahead of the league’s board meeting tomorrow. 

Budge has proposed temporarily changing the structure from four divisions to three divisions – each with 14 clubs – but has added the possibility of adding two clubs to the bottom tier. 

That would save Hearts from relegation from the Premiership, with Dundee United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle promoted.

Budge has suggested three divisions of 14 for the next two years while acknowledging a number of lower-league teams might not be able to play at all next season given the costs of Covid-19 testing and playing behind closed doors.

Budge said in her document: “This is not about permanent reconstruction. It is about finding a path to deal with the emergency situation, which is likely to impact all member clubs for the next two seasons. 

“When we are through this emergency we can look then at how best to move forward to start to rebuild Scottish football,” she added.

The Hearts document addresses two key issues facing Scottish football – the ‘unfairness and unjustness of relegating clubs’ due to the termination of the season and ‘the need to implement a more flexible league structure’ as they fight to survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plan would also see the top flight splitting after the first two rounds of fixtures into a top six and bottom eight.

Budge’s proposal was welcomed by Dave Cormack, the chairman of Aberdeen.

He said: “We’ve consistently said we don’t believe major and permanent league reconstruction should be carried out in the midst of this crisis.

“However, Aberdeen has always been supportive of a temporary reconstruction to avoid the relegation of Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer in this unprecedented situation.

“Given this is a temporary reconstruction plan, AFC is supportive in principle and, for the survival of Scottish football, I hope every club feels they can get behind this approach,” he added.