SPFL lodge their defence against Hearts' and Partick Thistle's £10m court action

Lawyers for governing body submit their case
SPFL officials at Hampden Park have responded to Hearts and Partick's legal action.SPFL officials at Hampden Park have responded to Hearts and Partick's legal action.
SPFL officials at Hampden Park have responded to Hearts and Partick's legal action.

The Scottish Professional Football League today lodged a formal defence against Hearts’ and Partick Thistle’s legal petition at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Both clubs launched a case to have their relegations overturned or they want £8million and £2million respectively in compensation, but the SPFL are fighting back.

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The Edinburgh-based law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn are acting on the SPFL’s behalf and submitted a detailed response this afternoon.

League officials are adamant they acted legally in relegating Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer given more than 80 per cent of member clubs voted to end the 2019/20 season early after coronavirus struck.

Hearts had eight league games outstanding at the time, Thistle and Stranraer each had nine. Hearts and Partick opened a joint legal case to challenge the SPFL last week and the governing body have now answered.

As per the civil court process, all three parties must now apply for a further order from the court – either for a period of adjustment or to assign a hearing.

Unless they arrange an out-of-court settlement, or change their pleadings, the matter is expected to proceed to a civil case in the Court of Session’s Outer House in the first instance.

An SPFL spokesperson said: “We can confirm that our answers to the petition have been lodged with the Court of Session.”

Were Hearts and Thistle’s complaint to be upheld, then they and Stranraer would be reinstated to the leagues they occupied last season – Premiership, Championship and League One respectively.

That would see promoted teams Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers sent back down and denied the chance to play in the divisions above.

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