Kilmarnock and St Mirren have been successful in overturning an SPFL decision that they should forfeit points for postponing league games after Covid-19 outbreaks.
The Premiership clubs took their fight to the Scottish FA after the league awarded wins to Motherwelll and Hamilton for games that couldn’t be played. Fines of £40,000 were also imposed.
An independent panel heard their case on Thursday and has overturned the ruling, saying that the matches should be rescheduled. The clubs have been fined £20,000 each, with half payable immediately and the remainder suspended.
Both Kilmarnock and St Mirren had requested that league games be called off after the clubs suffered Covid-19 outbreaks that left them unable to field teams. The SPFL allowed the games to be postponed and ordered investigations into the outbreaks to learn if the clubs had broken strict rules over how to minimise risk of infection.
An SPFL disciplinary panel then ruled that both clubs had failed to follow the rules and decided that the postponed games should be declared forfeit , with the opposition being awarded a 3-0 win.
That resulted in Hamilton and Motherwell being awarded three points for ‘wins’ over St Mirren, with Motherwell given another 3-0 victory over Kilmarnock.
Following the appeal decision, both clubs expressed their relief at the verdict.
A St Mirren statement read: “St Mirren Football Club is delighted at the decision of the judicial panel at the appeal hearing.
“The club thanks the Panel for their review of the case and their determination that the sanctions handed out by the SPFL tribunal was excessive and inappropriate.
“The decision of the appeal hearing that the matches be rearranged is a victory for common sense and the reduction of the fine from £40,000 suspended to £20,000 with £10,000 suspended is acknowledged by the club.
“The challenges facing everyone throughout this difficult time have never been underestimated by the club and, the club recognises that it will always strive to do its utmost to protect its players, staff and as soon as is safe, its loyal supporters.
“The club wishes to thank all of the supporters of St Mirren for their unwavering loyalty and dedication to the team and the club as we navigated through this process. The messages of support have encouraged the club to stand fast and fight against the injustice that was placed upon the club.
“We would also like to thank the supporters and clubs from around the world who have shown solidarity with ourselves during this time.We hope that as we progress through this difficult time, no other club faces the trials and tribulations that St Mirren and Kilmarnock FC have gone through and instead a common sense and supportive approach is taken by governing bodies to support members in unprecedented times.”
A Kilmarnock spokesperson said: “Kilmarnock Football Club is pleased to confirm that our case to the Scottish FA Appeal tribunal has been largely successful.
“The forfeiture of our Scottish Premiership match against Motherwell has been quashed and the match will be played at a date yet to be scheduled.
“Everyone at the club would like to thank Robert Milligan, QC and Martin Stephen of Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP for all their hard work on our case.”
More to follow…