SPFL: Sports lawyer David Winnie says Hearts and Partick Thistle legal action could delay 2020/21 season

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Sports lawyer and former Hearts defender David Winnie says legal action against the SPFL could delay the 2020/21 season

Sports lawyer and former Hearts defender David Winnie says legal action against the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) could delay the 2020/21 season.

On Wednesday, Hearts and Partick Thistle released a joint statement to announce they have lodged court papers to challenge their relegations.

Hearts were relegated to the Scottish Championship and Patrick Thistle to League One after the SPFL season was curtailed.

The clubs have submitted a petition with Scotland's highest civil court after joining forces to fight the fate that was sealed when only 16 of 42 Scottish Professional Football League clubs backed the latest and last league reconstruction attempt.

"Unless they have tried to fast-track these proceedings, there's no way it could be started and finished in seven or eight weeks," said Winnie.

Partick Thistle
Image: Partick Thistle and Hearts feel aggrieved with how they have been relegated

"Would Hearts ask for effectively an interdict to stop the league from starting? I don't know. It's a possible option for them.

"I think, in any event, there will be issues logistically for the league."

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In a joint statement, the two clubs said they had no wish to disrupt the game or interfere with the decision to declare clubs champions or nominate European qualifiers.

But they will seek compensation if they are not restored to the divisions they were in when the coronavirus pandemic suspended play and ultimately led to the curtailment of the campaign.

Winnie believes both Hearts ad Partick Thistle are right to take the matter to court but time is against them.

Winnie added: "There's never a 100 per cent sure thing. Some comfort for Hearts ... they just need to look across the channel and what's been going on in Europe.

"It does provide some kind of route map for Hearts. Do they have a chance? Certainly. Is it 100 per cent? Certainly not, there's a whole host of problems in front of them. It is not certain by any means they will be successful.

"I can understand why they have gone down this route."

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