Radical plan for a 14-team top flight is proposed

Motion would save Hearts from potential relegation

Daniel Stendel's Hearts are bottom of the Premiership. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS
Daniel Stendel's Hearts are bottom of the Premiership. Picture: Craig Williamson / SNS

A radical plan that would see Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers promoted to senior football and the creation of a 14-team Premiership that would save Hearts from relegation has been drawn up.

It is understood the plan has been proposed by a club in the lower divisions and is being discussed as a possible solution should the outbreak of coronavirus end the season.

A number of options are being considered but this one proposes no relegation from any division in the current campaign and the addition of two clubs, increasing to 44 the number of senior clubs in the Scottish league set-up.

If football is cancelled for this season, the plan would see Lowland League leaders Kelty and the Highland League’s top side Brora automatically join the SPFL as opposed to facing each other in a Pyramid play-off semi-final before facing League Two’s bottom side, currently Brechin City, in a final.

The top two in League Two, Cove Rangers and Edinburgh City, would move up to League One, with Stranraer and Forfar spared involvement with issues at the foot of that table.

Raith Rovers and Falkirk, currently first and second in League One, would be promoted to the Championship, with bottom two Partick Thistle and Queen of the South keeping their places in the second tier.

Dundee United and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who lead the way in the Championship, would be promoted to the Premiership to create a 14-team top-flight.

Hearts, bottom of the Premiership, would therefore avoid relegation and second-bottom Hamilton Accies would not have to go into the play-offs.

The plan is also believed to include a clause that would see the number of senior clubs reduced back to 42 at the end of the 2020-21 season through a series of increased relegations.

The moves have gained sufficient support to be discussed within the SPFL and further developments 
are expected this week. One source said: “This plan ticks a lot of boxes as it avoids any relegations that could be classed as unfair should football be stopped.”

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