Hearts and Partick fined for taking relegation battle to court

The pair were fined £2,500 each following a Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing.

Hearts and Partick fined for taking relegation battle to court SNS

Hearts and Partick Thistle have each been fined £2,500 for taking their battle against relegation to the Court of Session.

The pair were fined following a Scottish Football Association disciplinary hearing.

The SFA’s disciplinary rule 78 states that no member shall take a dispute which is referable to arbitration to a court of law except as expressly permitted.

Hearts and Partick Thistle acknowledged the decision of the SFA judicial panel in a joint statement.

The statement said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed by this outcome, we nevertheless consider that the sanction applied by the Panel reflects that the petition issued by the clubs before the Court of Session was brought in good faith.

“We look forward to putting these matters behind us and focusing on the season ahead.”

A panel ruled against the clubs after the Court of Session referred their case against the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) to the SFA’s arbitration process.

A three-person panel found in favour of the SPFL after a hearing in private last week.

The result means the clubs will begin their campaigns in October in the Scottish Championship and League One respectively.

It also meant the promotions of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were confirmed, as well as Stranraer’s relegation to League Two.

The legal basis of the claim by Hearts and Partick was a contention that the SPFL members vote held on April 10 this year was conducted in a fashion that was unfairly prejudicial towards them.

The vote was to end the season and decide placings based on a points-per-game basis for the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two. It also granted the SPFL permission to end the Scottish Premiership in a similar way.

The resolution passed by a single vote, which was received five days later, by Dundee FC.

In the legal documents, Hearts and Partick Thistle referenced the contentious vote from Dundee that arrived prior to the 5pm recommended deadline but was not counted, allowing the Dens Park club to cast the deciding vote on April 15.

They also alleged that the SPFL had held back key information from members regarding the financial impact of voting to curtail the 2019/20 season early.

Lord Clark presided over a procedural hearing at the start of July and came to the conclusion that Hearts and Partick Thistle’s case must be heard under the SFA’s arbitration process.

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