Scottish Premier league side Hearts’ have been confirmed relegated from the SPFL after only 16 clubs indicated that they would vote for league reconstruction and a 14-team Premiership from next season.
Deliberations begun over potential reconstruction plans since the season was halted in Scotland due to the coronavirus crisis, with the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) recently proposing a new 14-10-10-10 format, asking clubs to provide an indicative vote of the plan by Monday.
The organisation have now announced that only 16 of the 42 member clubs supported a plan for an expanded top flight in an informal vote. Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer’s relegations have now been confirmed.
The statement confirmed the SPFL board had “agreed to draw a line under reconstruction talks”.
There is also further confirmation that from October Championship clubs will play an abridged 27-game season, which will see teams playing each other three times, rather than four.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, said in a release “In recent weeks, we’ve been consulting closely with our clubs regarding possible reconstruction and, based on the feedback we received, the board decided to ask all 42 clubs to give their views so that we could have absolute clarity, which we’ve achieved today.
Whilst a number of clubs were in favour of a new divisional set-up, the support for it was insufficient and we will now move forward with a fixture programme for Season 2020/21 based on the current 12-10-10-10 structure.
Due to the restrictions forced upon us by the coronavirus outbreak, the Championship clubs also voted overwhelmingly to play each other three times next season, rather than four, which enables a later start to the Championship league season.
Now that we have a confirmed structure for next season, the SPFL’s fixturing team will begin work on the Premiership fixture list, which will start on the weekend of 1 August, and the Championship fixture list, which will start on the weekend of 17 October.”
The SPFL’s proposal would have seen a 14-team top flight, meaning Hearts would have remained in the division and be joined by Championship winners Dundee United as well as Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who finished second after the leagues were called.