Heart of Midlothian have issued a statement confirming that they have begun legal action against the SPFL over their relegation from the Scottish Premiership.
Talks over reconstructing the Scottish league that would have allowed the Edinburgh club to retain their status in the top flight have collapsed.
That meant the Jambos’ relegation from the Scottish Premiership was confirmed, after the season was curtailed due to the global Covid 19 pandemic.
The club is now set to pursue a claim worth several million pounds. They have been encouraged in their cause by similar legal challenges relating to seasons ending early being pursued in France and Belgium.
The Gorgie outfit were four points adrift of safety with eight matches left to play in the Scottish Premiership when football was suspended in March.
No reconstruction means Hearts are relegated
Subsequently, a controversial SPFL vote allowed the body’s board to determine the league standings at the time as final.
A move to expand the top division from 12 clubs to 14 was then proposed but never received sufficient support to pass. It was formally ruled out by the SPFL on Monday.
A statement on Hearts’ official website asserts:
“The SPFL Board has today announced that any reconstruction proposals for season 2020/21 will not proceed to a vote due to a lack of support from other member clubs.
“To say we are disappointed, yet sadly not surprised, at this outcome is, of course, an understatement. We have, from the outset, worked tirelessly with fellow clubs and the SPFL Board to try to find a solution that would right the most obvious wrongs that have been caused in Scottish football by decisions taken as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
It now looks like that the team’s head coach, Daniel Stendal, will lose his job as a result of the decision.
Stendal on his way out
Former players John Robertson, the club’s record goalscorer, and Neil McCann, look set to replace the German.
Hearts’ official statement continues:
“We have stated from the beginning that the unjust and unfair treatment of Hearts, Partick Thistle, Stranraer and indeed other clubs cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. While many weeks have been wasted in trying to find a solution, we must now formally challenge this outcome.
“The club can confirm that the necessary steps have been taken to begin this legal challenge. Given that this is now an active legal matter, the club will be offering no further comment at this time.”
The SPFL revealed that just 16 of its 42 clubs were supportive of the measure to increase the Premiership from 12 to 14 clubs. That would have meant Brora and Kelty being added to League Two.
“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 1 August, and the Championship fixture list, which will start on the weekend of 17 October,” Neil Doncaster, the SPFL’s chief executive, said.