Coronavirus Outbreak: Scottish football clubs set for crucial vote on ending season

The Scottish season was suspended until at least 10 June on Thursday as clubs prepared to vote on a Scottish Professional Football League resolution to end the season immediately in the lower divisions.

Reuters April 10, 2020 12:00:33 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Scottish football clubs set for crucial vote on ending season

London: The Scottish season was suspended until at least 10 June on Thursday as clubs prepared to vote on a Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) resolution to end the season immediately in the lower divisions.

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Representational image. AP

All matches in Scotland were originally halted on 13 March until at least 30 April, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With no resumption now for at least two months, the odds on the Scottish Premier League, not just the three lower divisions, not completing are shortening.

On Friday, all Scotland’s 42 professional clubs will get to vote digitally via conference call on the SPFL’s proposal to end the Championship, League One and League Two immediately and do likewise with the Premiership if and when it becomes clear the season cannot be completed.

Under the SPFL plan final positions would be allocated on an average points-per-game basis.

It is unlikely to be a clearcut vote though with the likes of Rangers, Hearts and Partick Thistle set to oppose the plans, while clubs such as Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers, all top of their respective divisions and standing to gain, likely to vote in favour.

The Premiership, which Celtic lead by 13 points from Rangers, will not be called off until 23 April, the earliest date UEFA would accept the abandonment of top divisions to avoid the possibility of being barred from European competitions.

Hearts, bottom of the table, have threatened legal action if the season ends early and they are relegated while Rangers have described it as “abhorrent” that certain clubs could be unfairly relegated if the SPFL proposals are implemented.

Partick Thistle, bottom of the second-tier Championship by only two points with a game in hand, said they will not accept the SPFL proposal “as it stands”.

However, with clubs suffering from a lack of match-day turnover the SPFL proposal could prove attractive as it would allow prize-money to be paid early.

To pass, the SPFL proposal requires the approval of nine of the 12 Premiership clubs, eight of the 10 Championships clubs and 15 of 20 clubs in League One and Two.

Speaking of the extension of the suspension of the leagues on Thursday, Scottish FA president Rod Petrie said: “The message is very clear. The government restrictions introduced to save lives must be adhered to and there is no prospect of an early resumption of training, let alone organised football in Scotland for several weeks.”

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