Hearts and Partick Thistle take legal action against SPFL
By PA Media
Last Updated: 17/06/20 6:09pm
Hearts and Partick Thistle have launched legal action over what they describe as their "unfair and unjust" relegation by the Scottish Premiership Football League (SPFL).
The clubs have been relegated to the Championship and League One respectively after the last attempt to restructure the Scottish professional divisions failed.
The Jags had initially suggested the cost of legal action would prevent them from taking on the SPFL in the courts, but said on Tuesday that a donor had come forward to assist them.
The joint statement read: "Heart of Midlothian Football Club and Partick Thistle Football Club have today lodged a petition with the Court of Session to challenge the unfair and unjust decision of the SPFL to enforce relegations, to the extreme detriment of those clubs affected.
"Unfortunately, Scottish football has been unable to pull together at this time of national crisis to prevent the need for this legal challenge. We desperately hoped court action would not be necessary, but we were left with no other option."
After initial reconstruction talks were shelved amid a lack of support from top-flight clubs, proposals from Hearts and Rangers both failed before the SPFL hierarchy proposed a 14-10-10-10 set-up.
The new system would have resulted in no relegation plus three runners-up getting promoted and the Highland and Lowland league champions joining the league. However, only 16 of the 42 clubs backed the plan in an informal vote.
"As matters stand, we have not asked the court to grant an interim interdict which would prevent next season commencing on August 1. However, we have to reserve our right to do so in the event that becomes necessary," the joint statement continued.
"We would emphasise instead that we have no wish to disrupt Scottish football but rather our aim is to have the proceedings litigated to a conclusion as quickly as possible.
"In that regard, the court has today granted our motion to reduce the normal period within which the SPFL must answer our petition, to seven days."
While Hearts have been told their Championship season will kick off on October 17, with 27 matches instead of the usual 36, Thistle are in the dark over when, and even if, League One will start.
The Jags demanded on Monday that League One starts at the same time and their rival teams have added their voice to the calls.