The SPFL today conducted votes in regards to league reconstruction for all 42 clubs.
All the club participated, and the verdict was negative. So the clubs facing relegation threats would be relegated. Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer all will be relegated to the second division as the majority of Scotland’s clubs did not support league reconstruction.
The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) have confirmed that only 16 of the total 42 teams have voted for a 14-10-10-10 format in the next season.
SPFL officials held a screening of opinions this morning to determine whether there was enough interest in altering the league structure. They confirmed that support from all four divisions is not sufficient to progress to an official vote. This led to the relegation of teams which occupy the bottom three position in SPFL, e.g. Hearts, Thistle and Stranraer.
There will be changes in the number of matches in next season. The Championship will involve only 27 games ( three round) for each team instead of the normal 36 matches. The ten clubs have agreed start date of October 17 for the second tier.
Hearts have now initiated legal action over their relegation. Partick have decided against doing the same due to the six-figure cost involved. Nevertheless, all three relegated teams feel that the treatment they received were unfair as the 2019/20 campaign was ended prematurely due to coronavirus.
The league’s board put forward a proposal to expand the Premiership from 12 teams to 14 by reinstating Hearts and promoting Inverness Caledonian Thistle from the Championship.
As they initially planned, Partick would have been returned to the Championship, and Stranraer restored to League One, with Lowland League winners Kelty Hearts and Highland League champions Brora Rangers invited to join League Two.
The numbers they needed was 11 out of 12 Premiership clubs to vote in favour and at least 17 from the Premiership and Championship combined. Overall, it required need 32 of the 42 SPFL clubs to say “yes”.
However, that idea is now rejected. Previous restructuring ideas floated by Hearts and Rangers also failed to muster enough support, and the governing body is preparing to continue with the existing 12-10-10-10 set-up across leagues.
In recent weeks, we’ve been consulting closely with our clubs regarding possible reconstruction and, based on the feedback we received, the board decided to ask all 42 clubs to give their views so that we could have absolute clarity, which we’ve achieved today.
Whilst a number of clubs were in favour of a new divisional set-up, the support for it was insufficient, and we will now move forward with a fixture programme for Season 2020/21 based on the current 12-10-10-10 structure.
Due to the restrictions forced upon us by the coronavirus outbreak, the Championship clubs also voted overwhelmingly to play each other three times next season, rather than four, which enables a later start to the Championship league season.
Neil Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive
Now that we have a confirmed structure for next season, the SPFL’s fixturing team will begin work on the Premiership fixture list, which will start on the weekend of August 1, and the Championship fixture list, which will start on the weekend of October 17.