Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers to battle it out as SPFL pyramid play-offs get go-ahead

Hampden Park - home of the SPFL and SFA. PIcture: SNSHampden Park - home of the SPFL and SFA. PIcture: SNS
Hampden Park - home of the SPFL and SFA. PIcture: SNS
Kelty Hearts and Brora Rangers will compete for a place in League Two next season after the SPFL announced the pyramid play-offs will go ahead.

The Lowland and Highland League champions both won their respective divisions last season but were denied a chance to play for a place in the SPFL after the campaign was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic. This saved Brechin City, who finished bottom of League Two, from facing the victor in the play-off final and secured their survival for another season.

Both Kelty and Brora repeated as champions this term, while Brechin will be confirmed in last place again if they fail to beat Annan on Thursday night. The Glebe Park side objected to the play-offs going ahead as both teams have played fewer games than them – Brora, for instance, played just three games before being crowned champions. They proposed league reconstruction with both league winners coming up and no relegation.

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However, the SPFL pressed on with trying to schedule the play-offs and, after checking with their legal counsel, they have confirmed that the games will take place.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Like so many aspects of our sport, both the clubs and the SPFL have been in uncharted territory as a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19. We are 100% committed to the principle of the sporting pyramid but were understandably keen to ensure that any decisions reached were both fair and in accordance with the rules and agreements of all four organisations.

“We therefore worked with the Scottish FA to conduct an arbitration in front of a senior judge and are very pleased that the position has been definitively clarified, and that this season’s Pyramid Play-Off Matches will proceed as normal.”

SFA chief Ian Maxwell added: “The principle of the Scottish football pyramid is of huge importance to the integrity of open competition. It was vital, given the implications for all three clubs, that the respective organisations took all practicable steps to ensure that the play-offs could take place.

“We are delighted that the decision by the judge corresponded with the view of the Scottish FA and provides the necessary clarity to the league bodies and certainty to those clubs affected.”

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