Celtic Crowned Champions and Hearts Relegated as SPFL Season Curtailed

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GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - MAY 18: Celtic fans gather at Celtic Park following the announcement that their club has been crowned Scottish champions for the ninth season in a row and Hearts have been relegated after the SPFL ended the season on May 18, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The SPFL has become the lastest European League to have come to a premature close.

UEFA had asked the Football Associations of Europe to put forward their plans of how they intended to finish their league campaigns by May 25.

Clubs in Scotland’s lower divisions already voted to bring their campaigns last month.

But following the League meetings with the 12 teams in Scotland’s top flight on Friday, they agreed completing the season was not negotiable.

PPG has been used to decide the final standings of the leagues, which sees Celtic record a ninth straight title while Hearts have been relegated to the Championship.

SPFL Season Curtailment Sees Celtic Crowned Champions and Hearts Relegated

Prize Money

SPFL executive Neil Doncaster has stated it will now be able to pay out ¬£7 million in prize and reward money for “clubs to stay afloat in these incredibly difficult times.”

The Scottish Cup is at the semi-final stage and there is a want to be able to complete the competition.

There is a target to begin the new SPFL season on August 10, and the League Cup is expected to return a few weeks before.

How Has it Impacted the Leagues?

The end of the Scottish Premier League has benefitted Celtic the most as they have been declared champions of Scotland, winning their ninth consecutive title and their 51st overall. They were a commanding 13 points clear at the top of the Premiership before the season’s postponement.

Rangers, Motherwell and Aberdeen complete the top four, while St Johnstone leapfrog Hibernian into the top half of the league.

But Hearts have felt the pinch as they have been relegated to the Championship. This is their second relegation in seven seasons.

Hearts were only four points behind second-bottom Hamilton with eight games still to play. The club have threatened legal action, with a statement saying: “As previously intimated the club has been taking legal advice throughout this process and are continuing to do so. We hope that the resolution being prepared will avoid the need to go down this route. Legal action would be both time consuming and expensive. However, the cost to the club of relegation would outweigh these considerations.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were all declared Champions of their respective leagues.

The SPFL will now be asked to submit the clubs who will compete in Europe next season. Inevitably, that will be Celtic for the Champions League, with Rangers, Motherwell and Aberdeen for the Europa League.

A Possible Change to the SPFL Format?

Despite Hearts’ demotion, there is a possibility they could still remain in the top flight next year.

There have been on-going talks about reconstructing the format of the SPFL season, which has been headed by Hearts owner Ann Budge.

Currently, there are four divisions, with 12 teams in the Premiership and ten teams each in the Championship, League One and League Two. But that could be changed into just three leagues each containing 14 teams.

If that was to happen, Dundee United would return to the Premiership, with one from Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee FC and Ayr United, most likely to join them.

 

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