April 16 – The second, third and fourth tiers of Scottish football have all ended their seasons with Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers declared champions.
Scotland’s 42 professional clubs voted digitally on the SPFL’s proposal to end the season as a result of Covid-19 across the Scottish Championship, League One and League Two.
The Premiership, which Celtic lead by 13 points from Rangers, will not be called off until April 23, the earliest date UEFA would accept the abandonment of top divisions to avoid the possibility of being barred from European competitions.
The curtailment of the season for the three lower divisions threatens to cause a fierce legal backlash, however, with Partick Thistle – not so long a top-flight club – now relegated to the third tier despite having a game in hand. Likewise Stranraer who will go down from League One to League Two.
In a statement, Stranraer said: “At this unprecedented time we felt unanimously as a committee that no football club, Stranraer FC or any other, should be at a detriment due to this horrendous situation.
“It is grossly unfair that any club should be relegated from their respective league whilst a quarter of the season still remains.”
But SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan countered: “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.”
“There was always going to be a highly-charged and passionate debate about how we secure the future of Scottish football. But what has been agreed today is not just the best way forward, it was the only realistic way forward.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said his body would now be able to make end-of-season payments to clubs by the end of this week, which he described as a “lifeline” to many teams in the lower leagues.
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