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SPFL release £1.8m end-of-season payments to clubs

Dundee file photo
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

The Scottish Professional Football League has advanced lower-league clubs the £1.8million they were due at the end of the original season.

Clubs voted to end the Championship, League One and League Two on Wednesday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The SPFL has now moved to release end-of-season payments to clubs in the lower three divisions which will reach them on Friday.

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SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Following confirmation on Wednesday night that the directors’ written resolution had passed with more than 80 per cent support from clubs, SPFL staff have been working hard to ensure that these vital end-of-season payments are made available to clubs across the three divisions as soon as possible.

“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Scottish football has been devastating, with no club left untouched or undamaged by the restrictions placed on our everyday life.

“This unprecedented situation has left clubs facing the stark reality of an extremely challenging financial landscape that could have seen a number of our clubs simply cease to exist. These funds will help bridge the gap and support clubs through this incredibly difficult period.”

Hearts chairman Ann Budge is joint chair of the SPFL's Reconstruction Group

Hearts chairman Ann Budge is joint chair of the SPFL’s Reconstruction Group (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The SPFL has announced its Reconstruction Group will have its first meeting on Monday afternoon.

Hamilton chairman Les Gray and Hearts counterpart Ann Budge are joint chairs of the 15-member group, which includes Dundee managing director John Nelms.

Representatives of the Highland League and Lowland League are part of the committee which also includes figures across the Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two.

Gray said: “I am delighted that so many clubs have come forward to support the league restructuring process. I am looking forward to a positive debate.”

Budge added: “The importance of league restructuring is understood by all. It is vital that we all work together to find solutions for the benefit of the game as a whole.”

While leagues from the Championship downwards have been brought to a halt, a decision on how to end the Ladbrokes Premiership season is yet to be taken.

Chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association Scotland Fraser Wishart believes it is “less and less likely” that the season will be concluded on the pitch.

Fraser Wishart

Fraser Wishart says PFA Scotland do not want to be a barrier to games behind closed doors (Danny Lawson/PA)

Wishart refused to rule out agreeing to matches being played behind closed doors, telling Radio Clyde: “We (PFA Scotland) made a statement the day before football was suspended… there was a view at the time to try and finish this season at that time behind closed doors.

“In Italy, Juventus had a game behind closed doors and one of the players sat on the bench unbeknown to him was positive for Covid-19, so that became a no-go area for us and we intimated that to the SPFL.

“That was the decision at that time. Things have moved on and it might be the opportunity to complete the Premiership season on the park – I think it’s highly unlikely but it might be able to and we don’t want to be a barrier to that.

“We’re not going to say no but there need to be a number of things in place to protect the players, should they decide to play.

“Health and safety and clean grounds but also insurance for players extending their contract should they pick up an injury during that extra month period, so there’s a bit of work to be done but we’ve left the door open to conversations with the governing body should that be the only way we can complete the season.

“I think it’s looking less and less likely we can complete this season on the field of play.”