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Hearts launch legal challenge following relegation

Proposals for a 14-team Premiership were rejected on Monday, meaning their relegation to the second tier is confirmed.

Hearts are launching a legal challenge following the club’s relegation to the Championship.

Proposals for a 14-team Premiership were rejected on Monday, meaning their relegation to the second tier has been confirmed.

Hearts have suffered the drop after the top-flight campaign was called early and positions determined on a points-per-game basis.

A statement from the Tynecastle side expressed their “disappointment, yet not surprise” at the verdict.

It went on to confirm Hearts have started a legal challenge.

Partick Thistle and Stranraer have also been relegated to League One and League Two respectively.

A Hearts statement said: “The SPFL Board has today announced that any reconstruction proposals for season 2020/21 will not proceed to a vote due to a lack of support from other member clubs.

“To say we are disappointed, yet sadly not surprised, at this outcome is, of course, an understatement.

“We have, from the outset, worked tirelessly with fellow clubs and the SPFL Board to try to find a solution that would right the most obvious wrongs that have been caused in Scottish football by decisions taken as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hearts, along with many others, have stated repeatedly that no club should be disproportionately disadvantaged because of this crisis.

“This was the final opportunity for kinship to prevail and for Scottish football to stand together in an emergency. It is an unfortunate condemnation of Scottish football that this was not possible.

“We thank those who were open-minded, pragmatic and willing to come together to try and reach a fair outcome for all. Sadly, there were too few of us.

“Now that all other avenues are closed, we are left with no choice but to proceed with a legal challenge.”

It added: “The club has tried throughout these last few months to avoid this course of action but we must now do the right thing by our supporters, our employees, our players and our sponsors, all of whom have been unwavering in their commitment and support.

“We can hold our heads up high as we have acted at all times with integrity, common sense and with the best interests of Scottish football at heart.

“We have stated from the beginning that the unjust and unfair treatment of Hearts, Partick Thistle, Stranraer and indeed other clubs cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. 

“While many weeks have been wasted in trying to find a solution, we must now formally challenge this outcome.

“The club can confirm that the necessary steps have been taken to begin this legal challenge.  Given that this is now an active legal matter, the club will be offering no further comment at this time.

“To our amazing fans we say that we cannot, and will not, sit idly by and watch the decisions made in the past few months further damage Heart of Midlothian Football Club. Thank you for fighting for us, now allow us to do the same for you.”

Meanwhile, Partick Thistle said it was “neither shocked nor surprised by today’s announcement”.

The Firhill club said in a statement: “The SPFL has shown it is not fit for purpose. That must be addressed, claiming to only do what members tell them is an assertion that has now worn thin.”

Partick also said they would not be seeking legal action as the costs would be prohibitive.

“We can’t risk monies in this way if we are serious about getting back to the Championship at the first opportunity. We are entitled to feel rage about this injustice, but we should channel that anger and use that money to deliver our own justice in the form of a club whose only stated intention is promotion next season,” the statement added.