What the SPFL's season-ending proposal means for Hearts, Hibs and Edinburgh City

The governing body have put forward a resolution to end the Championship, League 1 and League 2
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Scottish football is set for a decisive vote on the future of the 2019/2020 season.

The SPFL have tabled a resolution which recommends that the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 are terminated with a points per game metric determining the final places of the current campaign.

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In addition, the governing body continue to work with Uefa regarding the Premiership. If it comes to the point where the SPFL decide that the top-flight is terminated, it too will be done on points per game.

Hearts and Hibs could both be affected by a potential SPFL resolution. Picture: SNSHearts and Hibs could both be affected by a potential SPFL resolution. Picture: SNS
Hearts and Hibs could both be affected by a potential SPFL resolution. Picture: SNS

It is understood the resolution will need 75 per cent of clubs in each of the Premiership and Championship and 75 per cent of clubs across League 1 and League 2 to vote in favour.

But what does it mean for the three Edinburgh clubs?


Ever since Scottish football was postponed last month a lot of talk has focused on the Tynecastle side’s position at the bottom of the table, four points adrift of 11th-place Hamilton, and whether relegation was going to follow suit despite there being eight games left and 24 points to play for.

Hearts owner Ann Budge let it be known early on that she would seek legal advice if the decision was taken to demote the team without fulfilling the fixtures. It was a point she reiterated at the weekend, confirming she had told the SPFL the club’s reaction.

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As of yet, Hearts won’t be facing relegation. However, the statement from the SPFL this afternoon won’t sit easy with supporters.

The destiny of the club now lies, to an extent, in the hands of Uefa and the coronavirus pandemic. The European governing body are keen for top-flight leagues across the continent to be played to conclusion, In part, it helps determine the team which represent each country in European competition next season.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster called the position of the Ladbrokes Premiership “complicated”.

If the resolution is passed and the Championship, League 1 and League 2 are terminated then it sets a precedent Hearts won’t like. If the SPFL determine that the top-flight is not going to be finished then Hearts could be relegated. At which point legal advice would likely be sought, lawyers involved and more complexity.

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That being said, the statement also mentioned that league reconstruction could be discussed ahead of next season which is an avenue in which the club could remain in the top flight.

In short, Hearts are not relegated but a step towards that prospect has been taken by the SPFL.


Of the three capital clubs, Hibs are least affected by the SPFL’s resolution. Manager Jack Ross has admitted he would prefer Hearts to remain in the division, while defender Darren McGregor thinks teams should finish the season.

Supporters of the club, however, will likely be of a different viewpoint.

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That being said, Hibs could end up losing some revenue if clubs vote in favour of terminating the three lower leagues and then the Premiership follows at a later date.

As mentioned, the deciding factor on the final league table would be points per game. The Easter Road side currently sit in sixth, a point above St Johnstone. The Saints have a game in hand against Rangers but looking at the PPG average of both sides, Tommy Wright’s men would edge above Jack Ross’ men in the final table.

Hibs’ 37 points from 30 games gives an average of 1.23 PPG. St Johnstone’s 36 from 29 works out at 1.24 PPG.

Using last season’s prize money as an indicator, dropping down a place would cost Hibs £125,000.

Edinburgh City

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The League Two side are in an awkward situation. Sitting second in the table, Edinburgh City’s title challenge had faltered but they were well on their way to easing into the League One play-offs. They would have fancied their chances at coming through them victorious.

However, a termination of the season would not give James McDonaugh’s side the chance to earn promotion after a relatively successful season on the park and the windfall that competing up a league would bring the club.

But there is a financial aspect at play. City’s chairman Jim Brown spoke to the Evening News last month about the financial difficulties which lay in store. The club have set up a JustGiving page which has raised more than £4,000 of a £10,000 target.

They are missing out on revenue from four home league games then there is the potential for play-off encounters. On top of that, the club had to cancel an event which they believed would bring in around £10,000.

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Terminating the season now would see City receive prize money which is crucial for clubs. Last season, runners-up in League Two earned £65,000.

The talk of league restructuring could benefit Edinburgh City if it was decided to increase league size. They are best placed behind Cove Rangers to move up a tier if that was a possible solution.