Hearts and Hibs SPFL futures in hands of Dundee after dramatic day of negotiations and voting

Dens Park club last remaining one left to cast vote

By Andrew Smith
Saturday, 11th April 2020, 7:30 am
Scottish football has been left in limbo.
Scottish football has been left in limbo.

It emerged last night that Dundee have been left with the casting vote over the resolution to terminate immediately the season for the Championship, League One and League Two clubs, and pave the way for the Premiership to be concluded thereafter.

In a bizarre turn of events that led to confusion and questions about the entire process prompted by the coronavirus shutdown, the SPFL released details of clubs that had voted by their requested time of 5pm yesterday.

It detailed that 39 of the 42 senior clubs had voted and showed the proposal to end the season for the three lower divisions had received the necessary 75% majority from the Premiership clubs - only Hearts and Rangers of the 12 clubs rejecting the resolution - and the League One and League Two clubs, with 16 voting in favour, three against and one vote not received.

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Hibs came out in favour of the resolution yesterday afternoon, saying it was the “least worst” option available.

Championship dilemma

However, in the Championship, no outcome could be determined as the 75% threshold was not reached. There was a seven-two split in favour, Partick Thistle and Inverness Caledonian Thistle lodging objections, while the SPFL apparently raised a question over the competence of the Dens Park club’s ballot.

This is despite the fact Dundee insisted that they had lodged their rejection of the resolution as requested by the SPFL administrative team in charge of collating the email responses. However, it is understood that as a result of their vote having failed to be counted, they may be taking time to consider their position.

Hearts’ technical glitch

An unseemly episode, the original SPFL statement set out that one Premiership club had still to vote. It later transpired that Hearts were the club in question, with a “technical glitch” attributed for the failure of the vote to be counted initially, despite it having been sent at lunchtime yesterday.

The Companies Act 2006 means that the 42 SPFL members have 28 days to adopt or reject a written resolution. Effectively, then, Dundee could have three weeks to decide whether to stand by their original vote, or switch to allow the resolution to pass.

If it is successful, it will mean final season placings will be determined by points per game in league matches played to date by each club. This would man prize money being distributed in the short-term and result in the promotion of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, and the relegation of Partick Thistle and Stranraer.

The resolution also recommends that matches in the Premiership remain postponed for the time being, to give the best possible opportunity for the remaining 2019/20 fixtures to be played. However, if the SPFL Board determines that the remaining Premiership matches cannot be played, the top flight would also be terminated, with final season placings determined on the same basis. That would mean Celtic being declared champions and Hearts being relegated.

SPFL view

A statement from the SPFL said: “The SPFL Board met this evening to consider the responses to the resolution sent to clubs on 8 April. As at 5pm, the SPFL had received 39 responses, 85% of which have been in favour. With three clubs yet to vote, the SPFL will issue further updates in due course.”

A spokesman added: “It is very important that clubs consider carefully the resolution and we are grateful to those clubs who have voted already. With the Ladbrokes Premiership and Ladbrokes Leagues 1 & 2 divisions each having approved the resolution, we await the voting slip from the one Ladbrokes Championship club that has yet to vote. We will provide an update as soon as we are in a position to do so.”