STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Hearts and Thistle charged by SFA over court action

The clubs face disciplinary action for the steps taken to fight against relegation.

The Scottish FA have started disciplinary action against Hearts and Partick Thistle after the clubs went to court in their battle to avoid relegation.

The Scottish Professional Football League ended the 2019/20 season early after the coronavirus pandemic halted all sport in Scotland.

Member clubs voted to award prizes and decided promotion and relegation on a points per game basis, meaning Hearts were relegated from the Premiership and Thistle made the drop to League 1.

After three failed attempts at league reconstruction, the clubs went to the Court of Session but the case was referred to an arbitration panel convened by the SFA.

Now, the governing body has taken its on action, charging both clubs with breaking the rules by taking a football dispute to court.

SFA guidelines show that the punishment, if proven, could ranger from a fine of £500 or £1000 at the low end, to a £1m fine and expulsion or suspension from the association at the top end of the scale.

Hearts and Thistle have been charged with breaking 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 20 July 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.”

A hearing date of August 6 has been set.