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Controversial resolution passed

SPFL in cash vow to clubs after vote ends the season

Money: Neil Doncaster

The SPFL has vowed to fast-track end-of-season payments to teams in the lower leagues after announcing that their controversial resolution to end the current campaign early has been passed.

A dramatic U-turn by Championship side Dundee, who initially voted ‘No’ on Friday, was enough to see it across the line.

It means Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers have been crowned champions of the Championship, League 1 and League 2 respectively on a points-per-game basis from the placings when football was postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis.

By the same equation, Partick Thistle and Stranraer drop into League 1 and League 2 respectively.

The passing of the resolution frees up £9.3m for distribution and also allows the SPFL board to finish the Premiership season, with Celtic crowned league champions for a record-equalling ninth time in succession.

That decision will come once the outcome of a UEFA executive committee meeting next Thursday is known when it is widely expected that a line will also be drawn under top-flight leagues across Europe.

Hearts will be relegated in that case, although owner Ann Budge has been appointed as the joint head of a working group to explore the possibilities of league construction for next season – part of Dundee’s reasoning behind their change of mind.

The Jambos chief, who launched season tickets this week, has already said that dropping into the Championship will cost her club up to £3million in revenue.

Succeeding with reconstruction, though, will be a tall order, with Premiership clubs needing to vote 11-1 in favour of the change for it to happen.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Prior to this positive result, we were unable to make the vital end-of-season payments, which will provide a lifeline to so many clubs in the lower divisions.

“From our detailed discussions with clubs, many were facing an enormous cash-flow crisis. We have moved as quickly as possible to try to resolve this unprecedented situation.

“We’ve achieved the 75% agreement threshold in the Ladbrokes Premiership, Championship and Leagues 1 & 2 and will now be working as quickly as we can to get the end-of-season payments to members in the three lower divisions by the end of this week.”

Tough task: Ann Budge (pic: SNS Group)

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan added: “I want to pass on my warmest congratulations to all three clubs on their successful campaigns. This was a highly unusual end to the season, to say the least, and not the one any of us would have preferred, but all three deserve enormous credit for their performances over the course of the season.

“With the turmoil and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, there was always going to be a highly-charged and passionate debate about how we secure the future of Scottish football.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this was an existential matter for Scottish clubs, with many of them telling us they were at real risk of going under unless the situation was resolved very quickly, so I’m pleased that the game has moved decisively.”

“Whilst more than 80% of clubs agreed with the directors’ written resolution, it’s clear that others were strongly opposed.

“There has been talk of voiding the season, making emergency loans and so on, but what has been agreed today is not just the best way forward, it was the only realistic way forward and I now call on all 42 clubs to move forward in a constructive and positive way.”

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