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Men’s football Scottish duo lose relegation case

HEARTS and Partick Thistle have failed to overturn their relegations following an arbitration case.

A panel has decided the promotions of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers should stand, with Stranraer’s relegation also confirmed.

Hearts and Thistle have also lost out on their demands for a combined total of £10 million in compensation.

The pair took legal action against the Scottish Professional Football League after being consigned to the drop as a result of the vote by clubs to curtail the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A court of session hearing resulted in the case being referred to a three-person arbitration panel convened under Scottish FA rules, with a private hearing taking place last week.

The SPFL welcomed the ruling, with chief executive Neil Doncaster describing it as a “clear, comprehensive and unanimous decision.”

“I am absolutely delighted that our approach has been vindicated throughout, following an intense period of legal scrutiny and review,” he said.

League chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “The panel heard from many witnesses, including senior figures from across our game and three members of the SPFL executive team. Thousands of pages of evidence were considered.

“I’m therefore very pleased that the tribunal unanimously held that the challenges to the written resolution of 15 April 2020 failed and that the SPFL were entitled to pass and give effect to the written resolution and all that flowed from it.”

Dundee United welcomed the “decisive” verdict after being embroiled in the legal action along with Raith and Cove.

Raith welcomed the decision after their promotion to the Championship was confirmed following what they branded a “costly distraction.”

A statement said: “This has been a difficult time for our club and the decision today means we can now draw a line under this affair and move forward.

“We would like to place on record our grateful thanks and appreciation to all our supporters who contributed to the various fundraising efforts to offset our substantial legal costs.

“Thanks also go to the many football clubs and their supporters throughout the leagues in Scotland for their financial assistance and for the many messages of support.”

United, who will now kick off their Premiership campaign against St Johnstone on Saturday, said: “We are pleased that today’s decision by the tribunal brings this matter to a close, not just for us but for the whole of Scottish football.”

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