SPFL get list of potential SFA panellists for Hearts and Partick court case

Court of Session asked to send case back to football body
The Scottish FA have drawn up a list of potential independent panellists.The Scottish FA have drawn up a list of potential independent panellists.
The Scottish FA have drawn up a list of potential independent panellists.

The Scottish Football Association have drawn up a list of potential candidates to rule on Hearts’ and Partick Thistle's legal case against the Scottish Professional Football League.

Edinburgh’s Court of Session yesterday heard SPFL lawyers state that the complaint did not belong in court and should revert back to the footballing authorities.

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They asked the SFA for names of people who could form an independent panel to hear the case if needed at short notice. That list was granted and is now in the SPFL’s hands.

Hearts and Partick opened a civil action after being relegated from the Premiership and Championship respectively when more than 80 per cent of SPFL clubs voted to end the 2019/20 season early.

Coronavirus brought football to a halt in March but Hearts, Partick and Stranraer maintain they were unfairly treated as they had outstanding league games. Attempts at league reconstruction failed before Hearts and Thistle petitioned the Court of Session.

They want relegations reversed – which would also see promotions scrapped for Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers – or they are seeking £8million and £2million respectively in compensation.

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The SFA’s articles of association state clubs cannot not take legal action without permission from the SFA board. However, lawyers for Hearts and Partick argued this is the most efficient and permissable course of action.

The SPFL want the matter to revert back to the SFA for arbitration. If that happens, the governing body would need to form a panel of independent people, which is usually made up of retired judges and sheriffs, to sit in judgment.

This would have to be done swiftly given the outcome could affect the new football season, which is due to kick off on August 1.

Gerry Moynihan QC, speaking for the SPFL’s legal team at Shepherd and Wedderburn, told the court yesterday: “Shepherd and Wedderburn have the list of panel members and have offered these to the other parties on Friday, an offer which has not yet been taken up.

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“The only issue is an understanding that the list will be kept confidential because people should not be exposed to media interest in relation to these matters.”

The hearing continues from 2pm today.

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