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SPFL launches legal defence against Hearts and Partick Thistle

SPFL launches legal defence against Hearts and Partick Thistle
© Reuters
The two clubs are challenging their relegations after the campaign was curtailed.

The Scottish Professional Football League has lodged its defence to the legal challenge raised by Hearts and Partick Thistle – and sought to take central control of any similar controversy.

The two clubs are challenging their relegations and seeking compensation if they cannot overturn the decision.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers have also submitted papers to the Court of Session in Edinburgh after Hearts and Thistle notified them they were seeking to stop them getting promoted.

A court official stated that the three clubs were being represented by Lindsays legal firm while Shepherd and Wedderburn is acting on behalf of the SPFL. No date has been set for a hearing.

The SPFL has lodged its defence
The SPFL has lodged its defence (PA)

An SPFL spokesperson said: "We can confirm that our answers to the petition have been lodged with the Court of Session."

The dispute arose from the controversial vote by clubs to terminate the season in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and decide final placings on a points-per-game basis.

Four serious attempts at league reconstruction subsequently failed to prevent Hearts, Thistle and Stranraer being relegated.

Neil Doncaster wants a simpler method of making big decisions
Neil Doncaster wants a simpler method of making big decisions (PA)

The SPFL has sought to avert similar public division and recriminations by proposing its board has the power to rule on any Covid-19 related emergencies for next season only.

In a letter to clubs quoted on the STV website, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: " Whilst there was a clamour for the SPFL noard to 'show leadership' and to make decisions to steer the SPFL through the crisis, the board were constrained by current SPFL rules – which forced the board to seek approval from the members at various stages in the process.

"The attached resolution, if passed, would give your board the authority to make decisions in relation to season 2020-21, in the event that Covid-19 causes disruption to the season."

Clubs have 28 days to submit their vote on the resolution.

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General view of Tynecastle Park, home to Hearts, from 2011
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