Dundee chief opens up on controversial vote U-turn that saw Hearts prematurely relegated

No incentive was offered to Dundee when they performed a controversial voting U-turn which saw Hearts prematurely relegated from the top flight of Scottish football, according to the club’s managing director.
Dundee managing director John Nelms. Picture: SNSDundee managing director John Nelms. Picture: SNS
Dundee managing director John Nelms. Picture: SNS

John Nelms insists the change of heart was made after consultation with other clubs when it became apparent Dundee had the deciding vote after their original decision wasn’t counted when an email didn’t reach the SPFL.

The casting vote brought an end to the 2019/20 season, which saw Hearts move into the Championship as they sat in last place in the Premiership with eight games still to be played.

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There was speculation that Dundee reversed their position after clubs heavily in favour of bringing the season to an end offered them incentives for doing so. However, Nelms strongly denies that allegation.

The US businessman says his mind was swayed after talking to owners of other clubs and getting the full picture of the bleak financial situation facing some of them.

He told the BBC: "There were pressures. Financially, a lot of clubs wanted this done because they needed that money. When I eventually voted the way I did, that was very evident. They're days away from insolvency.

"Could that have been done another way? Probably. But there was no firm answer to these questions. Then you have 42 clubs – the majority of them wanted to go down this path.

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"Nobody tried to bribe me to vote a certain way. When you talk about pressures, that's not it.

"People are emotional because their business is about to go under. I don't know what could be an incentive for us to change our vote. Did you see half a dozen loan players at Dundee?

"It was the best solution for a very bad situation. The other solutions on the table, other people weren't going to contemplate that."

Nelms was speaking after Dundee joined Hearts in achieving promotion to the top flight. The Dens Park side finished runners-up in the table before successfully navigating their way past Raith Rovers in the Premiership play-off semi-final before defeating Kilmarnock home and away in the final.

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