Kelty Hearts champions as Scottish lowland league ends

Barry Ferguson's side named league winners after SLFL board took into account points per game average.

The Scottish Lowland Football League (SLFL) has ended with immediate effect and Kelty Hearts have been crowned champions.

The Fife outfit are top of the table, six points clear of second-placed Bonnyrigg Rose, having played a game more.

The SLFL Board said in a statement: The board took into account the points per game average based on the standings at the cessation of football on the 13th March, and as such have declared that Kelty Hearts are this season’s champion club.

“Furthermore, the board would like to make it clear that it feels that no member club should be disadvantaged by the current health crisis we face, and as such there will be no relegation from the SLFL in season 2019/20.

“We are aware of the implications for our fellow pyramid leagues, the East of Scotland League and South of Scotland League, and will announce contingency plans to cover this in due course.”

A board meeting on Monday also decided that bottom club Vale of Leithen will not be relegated.

Kelty Hearts, who are managed by former Rangers midfielder Barry Ferguson, said in a statement: “Absolutely not the way anyone at the club would have wanted this season to finish and football really does pale into insignificance of what battles we are all facing in life just now, most notable the NHS, people and families affected by this terrible virus.”

The decision comes after officials announced the end of the Highland League season and crowned Brora Rangers champions on 21 March.

Both leagues’ champions would normally be due to play each other over two legs for the right to face the bottom club of Ladbrokes League Two, currently Brechin, for a place in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

As it stands there are no plans for any play-offs but there have been calls to temporarily extend the SPFL by two clubs for next season to let both champions in.

Meanwhile, the professional game in Scotland has endured a chaotic week after the SPFL initiated a vote on its proposed resolution on ending the season.

The league body spoke with all 42 clubs on Wednesday and put forward a plan that would see the Championship, League 1 and League 2 ended now and the Premiership given more time to complete the season but to be called if that proved impossible.

Most clubs met the advised voting deadline of 5pm on Friday 10 April, with the majority of Premiership and League One/Two clubs backing the SPFL plan.

The vote required 75% of Premiership clubs to be in favour, 75% of the Championship sides, and 75% of League 1 and 2 combined.

The SPFL has confirmed that the proposal has been carried in three leagues but one Championship side, Dundee, still has a decisive move to make amid ongoing confusion over the status of the Dens Park club’s ballot.

The SPFL is scheduled to hold a board meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the impasse over a decision on the league season and the controversy surrounding the vote process.

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