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Partick Thistle say the show must go on after seeking legal advice

Soccer – Scottish Premiership – Partick Thistle v Dundee United – Firhill Stadium
(Image credit: David Cheskin)

Partick Thistle have claimed the Scottish Professional Football League must shelve its resolution to end the season after the Ladbrokes Championship’s  bottom club sought legal advice.

Thistle stand to be relegated if Dundee switch their position after the Premiership and lower leagues approved the proposals.

The Taysiders were set to join Thistle and Inverness in rejecting the plan – thus denying the SPFL board 75 per cent backing from the Championship clubs – but Dens Park managing director John Nelms contacted the SPFL to ask for more time to consider after a technical hitch apparently delayed the delivery of their vote.

Dundee continue to hold the balance of power and could theoretically take three more weeks to decide despite clubs being asked to vote by 5pm last Friday.

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However,  Thistle stated their legal advice – from David Thomson QC and Advocate Ross Anderson – read: “The original vote by Dundee FC was cast in line with the SPFL’s own rules and must stand, meaning that the resolution falls.”

The Maryhill club also stated the legal opinion was that the SPFL could potentially be in breach of duty over the information given to clubs and the process.

“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,” their statement added.

“On that basis, clubs may have lacked sufficient information – by omission – to make an informed decision based on the SPFL’s briefing document.”

Rangers also want the plan halted

Rangers also want the plan halted (PA)

Rangers had claimed on Sunday that clubs would be “shocked” to discover the SPFL has the power to issue loans to hard-pressed clubs. The league has stated that the season must be completed before prize money can be distributed.

But Thistle’s advice also claimed the SPFL could alter its rules to facilitate the early payment of fees.

The Jags continued: “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.

“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.

The decision appears to rest with Dundee

The decision appears to rest with Dundee (PA)

“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 board members are holding talks on Tuesday but Dundee have maintained their public silence amid reports they have been negotiating over league reconstruction and compensation for clubs who could be relegated under the plans, including Hearts and Stranraer.

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Under the plans, the three lower leagues would be declared over immediately with the SPFL board reserving the right to decide on the Premiership at a later date.

Dumbarton chairman John Steele hopes the plan can be approved quickly.

In a statement, he said: “Our own situation, and that of many smaller clubs, is that we need the payments just to keep going. Things are very tough financially. It was put to us that this was the way to achieve that.

“If the resolution is to be adopted, we would see that as a positive outcome. We are not ourselves in a position to worry about titles, relegations or the promise of league reconstruction. The financial survival of the club has to be our top priority.”

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