SPFL in the dock
Hearts and Partick claiming £10m in compensation
Court action: Ann Budge (pic: SNS Group)
The SPFL is facing a multi-million-pound compensation claim by Hearts and Partick Thistle should a joint court action fail to overturn their relegations.
After the majority of member clubs voted against the latest league reconstruction proposal tabled by Jambos owner Ann Budge, the Edinburgh side dropped into the Championship while the Jags were relegated into League 1.
Both clubs said they were left with no other option other than to take legal action, with a petition lodged in the Court of Session in Edinburgh to challenge the SPFL’s “unfair and unjust” decision which they claim was to the “extreme detriment of those clubs affected.”
The SPFL have been given seven days to respond.
A joint statement from the clubs said: “Unfortunately, Scottish football has been unable to pull together at this time of national crisis to prevent the need for this legal challenge. We desperately hoped court action would not be necessary, but we were left with no other option.
“For clarity, our petition does not seek to set aside or unravel the fee payments made to clubs, nor indeed the declaration of champions, or the nomination of clubs who will participate in European competition.
“Instead, the petition primarily seeks to reduce the unfair resolution insofar as it changed the SPFL’s rules on promotion and relegation. If that remedy is not granted by the court, we seek, in the alternative, awards of compensation relative to the significant financial loss which the unfair relegations will visit upon us.
“As matters stand, we have not asked the Court to grant an interim interdict which would prevent next Season commencing on 1 August. However, we have to reserve our right to do so in the event that becomes necessary.
“We would emphasise instead that we have no wish to disrupt Scottish football but rather our aim is to have the proceedings litigated to a conclusion as quickly as possible. In that regard, the court has today granted our motion to reduce the normal period within which the SPFL must answer our petition, to seven days.
“No further comment will be made by either club at this time.”
It could prove a costly summer for the SPFL, which is also set to pay out nearly £4m in compensation to BT Sport and Sky Sports over games missed due to the early curtailment of the season.
A deal to pay Sky Sports around £1.5m over the next five years has already been thrashed out, with BT Sport said to be in line to receive approximately £2.3m, paid over a period of time.
BT Sport’s five-year agreement to show SPFL matches ended in March when the season stopped, with Sky’s £160m deal to screen 54 matches for each of the next five campaigns kicking off on 1 August.