Hearts and Partick Thistle Relegation Confirmed
Hearts and Partick Thistle will be in the Scottish Championship and League One respectively this season after an arbitration panel decided not to overturn their allegations. The two clubs took legal action after being demoted when the last term ended conclusively due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They wanted the Court of Session to reverse the promotions of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers and keep them up instead. But a three-strong panel ruled that the SPFL were entitled to act as they did. Hearts and Partick Thistle also wanted up to £10m in compensation, but could now face paying costs, with arbitration continuing for “submissions about expenses”.
The two clubs have yet to comment on the outcome. SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster welcomed the “clear, comprehensive and unanimous decision”. He said: “I am absolutely delighted that our approach has been vindicated throughout, following an intense period of legal scrutiny and review. “It has been a very demanding process, but I had complete confidence in the actions and decisions of the SPFL board and the SPFL executive team.”
SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan confirmed that three members of the organisation’s executive team were interviewed by the panel and thousands of pages of evidence were considered. He also said: “I would fully expect all those involved to agree that no stone was left unturned, no allegation left unanswered,” he said, adding that he has sympathy for Hearts, Thistle, and Stranraer, who were also relegated but chose not to take legal action.
That panel has deliberated over the evidence and delivered its conclusion less than a week before the Premiership season is scheduled to start on 1 August.