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Hearts and Thistle arbitration hearing to begin next week

A procedural meeting was held on Friday to allow the case to be heard.

Hearts and Partick Thistle’s fight to reverse their relegation is set to resume on Monday when dispute with the Scottish Professional Football League goes to arbitration.

A procedural meeting was held on Friday to confirm details for the case and, barring any last-minute changes, the independent panel will hear arguments from Monday.

The hearing is expect to last for at least two days.

The two clubs, along with Stranraer, were relegated from their respective divisions when SPFL clubs voted to cut the 2019/20 season short after the coronavirus pandemic forced a shutdown of all professional football.

League places were decided on a points per game basis, with prize money, titles, promotion and relegation all put into effect.

Hearts and Thistle said that they would fight the decision all the way and three attempts were made to reconstruct the leagues so that no club would be relegated but promoted sides Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers could all move up.

Those attempts failed and Hearts and Thistle took their fight to the Court of Session. Lord Clark ruled that the dispute should be dealt with by an Scottish FA-convened panel.

Hearts and Thistle were subsequently charged with breaking Scottish FA disciplinary rule 78 – “No member or Associated Person shall take a dispute which is referable to arbitration in terms of Article 99 to a court of law except as expressly permitted by the terms of Article 99”.

The clubs responded with a joint statement which read: “We are incredulous to have received a notice of complaint from the SFA in the circumstances.

“It is oppressive of them to require submissions from both clubs by July 20 when we are, in terms of their own articles of association, actively engaged in arbitration.

“As our focus must be squarely on that, we have already requested the SFA to review the timing to allow us to be properly prepared and represented. That is the very least we should expect from the process.”