Hearts watching closely as French court blocks relegation and Belgians rule it is illegal

Tynecastle officials monitoring developments in European leagues
Officials at Tynecastle are watching the French and Belgian leagues.Officials at Tynecastle are watching the French and Belgian leagues.
Officials at Tynecastle are watching the French and Belgian leagues.

Hearts are watching developments in France and Belgium closely after relegation was blocked by authorities in both countries.

Whilst considering legal action of their own following demotion from the Scottish Premiership, Tynecastle officials are keen to see how events in Ligue 1 and the Jupiler Pro League unfold in case they can be used as a precedent.

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The French National Court today ruled that Toulouse and Amiens cannot be relegated after both clubs appealed when Ligue 1 was ended early because of coronavirus.

Along with Lyon, who complained about missing out on a European place, they petitioned the court claiming they were being treated unfairly.

Toulouse and Amiens want the league increased from 20 teams to 22 for next season to prevent any team going down.

The French league body, the LFP, must now look at an alternative structure for 2020/21 to accommodate both clubs after the court blocked the relegations.

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The LFP originally imposed the decision to end the campaign and demote teams back in April. Toulouse were bottom and a massive 17 points from safety at the time, with second-bottom Amiens needing to make up seven points.

In Belgium, the competition authority decided Waasland-Beveren’s demotion from the Pro League was illegal. The club have asked the Brussels Court of First Instance to annul the decision and they are expected to make an announcement next week.

Hearts are watching with interest as they prepare a potential legal case against the Scottish Professional Football League over the decision to end Scotland’s season prematurely.

All other major European leagues, Netherlands aside, plan to continue the 2019/20 season behind closed doors. Germany and Poland are already back playing, with England, Spain, Italy and Portugal set to follow.

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Hearts were officially demoted last month after coronavirus stopped Scottish football in March. They had been four points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership with eight games remaining and are bitterly disappointed at what they feel is an unfair punishment.

Partick Thistle and Stranraer also suffered relegation from the Championship and League One respectively as a result of the vote to halt the campaign.

Titles were awarded to Celtic, Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers based on average points per game.

More than 80 per cent of SPFL clubs voted in favour of the decision, a fact which would go against Hearts should they decide to commence litigation.

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Owner Ann Budge has been attempting to garner support for league reconstruction in the meantime which would keep her side in the top flight. So far, clubs have been reluctant to agree to expand the Premiership to 14 teams as she suggested.

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