Dundee's SPFL 'No' vote must stand claim Partick Thistle

Partick Thistle have insisted that Dundee’s original vote against plans to end the 2019-20 season is legally binding and the SPFL’s controversial resolution must fail.

An empty Firhill Stadium where Partick Thistle will be playing League 1 football next season if the SPFL resolution passes.

The Firhill club, who would be relegated to League 1 if the resolution is passed, say they have received advice from a leading QC which suggests the SPFL may be ‘in breach of duty’ by not giving members sufficient information ahead of last Friday’s ballot.

The SPFL are holding a board meeting today in a bid to resolve the impasse after their resolution fell short by one vote.

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Dundee initially submitted a vote against the resolution, which would have brought it down, but later requested that it should not be considered.

Hearts, who would be relegated to the Championship, and Rangers have led angry opposition to the SPFL plan to cut short the season and award final placings on the basis of league positions when football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Partick Thistle have added their voice to the criticism, backing an alternative plan previously suggested by Rangers for loans to be advanced to clubs from the £9.3 million prize money funds held by the SPFL.

“At a time when football is not a priority and when people are suffering across the country, Partick Thistle is dismayed that Scottish football remains in limbo as a result of Friday’s vote,” read the Thistle statement.

“The basis of our approach throughout this situation is that no club should be worse off, either financially or in a sporting sense, as a result of any resolution.

“We have obtained a Joint Opinion from Senior and Junior Counsel to identify what can be done to remedy this situation. The QC’s legal Opinion concludes:

“1. The information dispensed to Clubs and the process utilised in putting forward the resolution, could potentially be held to be a breach of the duty by the SPFL to provide sufficient information to member clubs to allow them to make a properly informed decision in relation to the SPFL’s resolution. In particular, the Opinion highlights the fact that the SPFL did not explain to member clubs alternative means by which payments could be made other than by requiring the immediate termination of the current league season. On that basis, clubs may have lacked sufficient information – by omission - to make an informed decision based on the SPFL’s briefing document.

“2. The original vote by Dundee FC was cast in line with the SPFL’s own rules and must stand, meaning that the resolution falls.

“3. There is the potential for the SPFL Articles to be altered, as would be required to bring a season to end early, in order to, for example, facilitate the payment of fees to Member Clubs.

“To secure a vote to end the season, the SPFL linked it to releasing funds to hard-pressed clubs, making it clear there was no alternative. However, as it now transpires, there was a vehicle to release monies in the shape of loans, quite apart from the possibility of changes being made to the SPFL Articles to allow the payments normally made at the end of the season to be made now. We would urge the SPFL to move immediately to approve loans to clubs against the monies owed to them at the season end, based on their current position in the league.

“With that urgent situation dealt with, there can then be considered discussion involving all clubs to address the way forward for Scottish football in this unprecedented season. The SPFL presented to clubs (in 25 pages of briefing note and resolution and with 48 hours to consider it) that there was no alternative. It is now apparent that that is not the case.

“Again, we restate that we are uncomfortable with the position Scottish football finds itself in at a time of national emergency and have been reticent to get involved publicly. However, as a Board, we would be wrong not to share the Opinion with our fellow clubs across the leagues, as well as with our staff, management, players and fans.”

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