Legal Action Against SPFL: Court Date Set

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A general view of Tynecastle Park ahead of the Scottish Premier League match between Hearts and Motherwell at Tynecastle park on 7 March, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The bitter battle raging in Scottish football over next season’s league structure has intensified. It has now been confirmed that the argument is set to be resolved in the courts, via legal action.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) member clubs voted to enforce promotion and relegation. Doubt had arisen, due to premature ending of the 2019/20 season caused by the COVID-19.

This meant that Heart of Midlothian, Partick Thistle and Stranraer will suffer demotion from their respective divisions. Meanwhile, Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were awarded promotions.

Legal Action Against SPFL: Court Date Set

Hearts’ Take Legal Action Against SPFL Decision

Hearts immediately protested. Initially, they proposed a league re-construction, but this was rejected by the SPFL member clubs. Next, they threatened legal action. This court action has now been confirmed. Ideally, they want their relegation from the Scottish Premier League (SPL) overturned. Alternatively, they are seeking £8 million in compensation.

Joining Hearts in the legal action are Partick Thistle, who are seeking £2 million in compensation. A 5 pm deadline on June 24th was set for all parties involved to submit legal documents. The Court of Session in Edinburgh will hear the case next Tuesday. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the hearing will take place via a video conference starting at 10:00 BST. Lord Clark will preside over proceedings.

Desired is a Quick Outcome

While the hearing is only to determine the next stage in proceedings, the courts might decree they do not have the jurisdiction to adjudicate, thereby declaring it only as a matter for the SPFL.

This is the SPFL’s desired outcome, as they are keen to resolve the issue quickly. Not least, as SPFL member clubs have agreed on a provisional starting date of August 1st for the 2020/21 season.

Should Hearts and Partick have their relegation overturned, it is expected that Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers will be stripped of their promotions. This will cause further annoyance for United’s supporters towards Hearts. They are still reeling from last week’s shock departure of their Head Coach Robbie Neilson to Hearts.

While it is stressful for the supporters of the clubs involved, it is certainly a riveting battle for the neutral to follow.

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