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Hearts and Partick Thistle officially relegated as they lose case against SPFL

Conor Breslin
Conor Breslin

17:31 27 Jul 2020

SPFL teams Hearts and Partick Thistle have failed to overturn their relegations following a legal case and are officially relegated from the Premiership and Championship.

A panel has decided the promotions of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers should stand with Stranraer's relegation also confirmed.

Hearts and Partick Thistle took legal action against the Scottish Professional Football League over what they perceived to be an unfair and unlawful relegation as COVID-19 enforced an early conclusion to Scottish football.

A Court of Session hearing resulted in the case being referred to a three-person panel, convened under the Scottish Football Association rules with a private hearing taking place last week. The SFA came to the decision that the relegations would stand.

Dundee United welcomed the "decisive" verdict after being embroiled in the legal action along with Raith and Cove.

The SPFL welcomed the ruling with chief executive Neil Doncaster describing it as a "clear, comprehensive and unanimous decision".

"I am absolutely delighted that our approach has been vindicated throughout, following an intense period of legal scrutiny and review," he added.

Partick Thistle will feel the most hard done by, as they were only bottom by a point with a game in hand. It has been unfortunate but unprecedented times have caused these issues.

League chairman Murdoch MacLennan added, "The panel heard from many witnesses, including senior figures from across our game and three members of the SPFL executive team. Thousands of pages of evidence were considered.

"I'm therefore very pleased that the tribunal unanimously held that the challenges to the written resolution of 15 April 2020 failed, and that the SPFL were entitled to pass, and give effect to, the written resolution and all that flowed from it."

It remains to be seen if either Hearts or Partick will pursue the matter further.

Dundee United, who will now kick off their Premiership campaign against St Johnstone on Saturday.

"We are pleased that today's decision by the tribunal brings this matter to a close, not just for us but for the whole of Scottish football."

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