SPFL resolution approved by clubs in all four divisions

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers have been declared champions.

SPFL titles set to be awarded
SPFL titles set to be awarded

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers have been crowned champions of their respective leagues and promoted after the 2019-20 Scottish football season was brought to an end.

The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) announced on Wednesday its resolution on ending the season has passed with agreement by 81% of all members.

The league body made the announcement after Dundee submitted a ‘yes’ vote, after initially submitting a ‘no’ vote last Friday and then asking for it to be withdrawn.

The resolution also gives authority to the board to make a decision on the remainder of the Ladbrokes Premiership season. But calling top-flight leagues in Europe needs to be approved by UEFA.

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The executive committee of European football’s governing body meets on 23 April. If the SPFL resolution is ratified at that meeting, Celtic will be crowned Premiership champions and Hearts will likely be relegated.

The announcement comes after Dundee reversed an earlier intention to reject the proposals, thus achieving the numbers required for the motion to pass.

Partick Thistle, who are bottom of the Championship, have been relegated to League One, while Stranraer have been relegated to League Two.

There will be no promotion/relegation play-offs across the SPFL, including in the bottom tier, meaning Brechin City have avoided matches that could have resulted in the ignominious feat of suffering three successive relegations.

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SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “With the turmoil and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, there was always going to be a highly-charged and passionate debate about how we secure the future of Scottish football.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this was an existential matter for Scottish clubs, with many of them telling us they were at real risk of going under unless the situation was resolved very quickly, so I’m pleased that the game has moved decisively.

“Whilst more than 80 percent of clubs agreed with the directors’ written resolution, it’s clear that others were strongly opposed.

“There has been talk of voiding the season, making emergency loans and so on, but what has been agreed today is not just the best way forward, it was the only realistic way forward and I now call on all 42 clubs to move forward in a constructive and positive way.”

The SPFL board has also committed to consult on possible league restructuring in time for season 2020/21 around an expanded Premiership model and has appointed Hearts chair Ann Budge and Hamilton Academical chair Les Gray to jointly lead a reconstruction taskforce, bringing in other football figures to provide input and support.

The SPFL executive will provide all possible services and support to make the work of the taskforce a success.

There has already been some reaction to the SPFL’s announcement on Wednesday evening.

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League One Stranraer released a statement saying they “fully support the legal submission shared by Partick Thistle with all member clubs and the SPFL on Tuesday 14th April in that the current SPFL proposal is legally flawed, and the SPFL’s failure to adhere to a proper process to date is most definitely subject to legal challenge”.

Earlier this week, Partick said the SPFL’s resolution over ending the season must be shelved after seeking legal advice.

Thistle employed a QC to look at the process, which sees Dundee considering their casting vote after withdrawing their ‘no vote’ before it arrived with the SPFL after it was claimed there was a technical hitch.

The Jags stated the legal opinion argued the SPFL board’s information might be considered a breach of duty.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Prior to this positive result, we were unable to make the vital end-of-season payments, which will provide a lifeline to so many clubs in the lower divisions.

“From our detailed discussions with clubs, many were facing an enormous cash-flow crisis. We have moved as quickly as possible to try to resolve this unprecedented situation,” he added.

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