Hearts launch legal action after Scottish football reconstruction plan fails
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Hearts launched legal action on Monday after Scottish clubs rejected plans to restructure the league following the decision to end the season due to the coronavirus.
Only 16 of the 42 Scottish teams backed a proposal to change the make-up of the four divisions. The idea was for 14 teams in the Premiership and 10 in each of the three lower leagues.
The change needed 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs to vote in favour, along with at least six Championship clubs and 75 per cent of the league overall. Monday's informal vote means Hearts have had their relegation from the Premiership ratified.
The Edinburgh club said they had no choice but to proceed with a legal challenge. "The club has tried throughout these last few months to avoid this course of action but we must now do the right thing by our supporters, our employees, our players and our sponsors," Hearts said in a statement.
"We have stated from the beginning that the unjust and unfair treatment of Hearts, Partick Thistle, Stranraer, and indeed other clubs, cannot be allowed to go unchallenged," the club added. Hearts have been outspoken throughout the whole process and called the outcome of the vote a "condemnation" of Scottish football.
It was confirmed on Monday that clubs in the second-tier Championship had approved a reduced 27-game campaign, scheduled to kick off in October. Raith Rovers were declared League One winners and will be in the Championship in 2020/21, while Partick Thistle have been relegated to League One.
Stranraer have been relegated to League Two. "Whilst a number of clubs were in favour of a new divisional set-up, the support for it was insufficient and we will now move forward with a fixture programme for season 2020/21 based on the current 12-10-10-10 structure," Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster said.
"Due to the restrictions forced upon us by the coronavirus outbreak, the Championship clubs also voted overwhelmingly to play each other three times next season, rather than four, which enables a later start to the Championship league season." The new Premiership season will start on the weekend of August 1 while the Championship season will begin on the weekend of October 17.