Falkirk’s League One title bid is over

Raith Rovers were declared the winners of Ladbrokes SPFL League One at a meeting of the SPFL board tonight.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 8:31 pm
Three of the four league trophies have been decided. Picture: Jeff Holmes JSHPIX.CO
Three of the four league trophies have been decided. Picture: Jeff Holmes JSHPIX.CO

After delaying for five days, Dundee finally cast a vote on the SPFL resolution to end the season 2019-20 in the Championship, and Leagues One and Two, and declaring the present standings as final. The Dens Park club had previously sent a ballot rejecting the motion but it was subject of controversy over the weekend and had not yet been counted.

Locally, Falkirk had also rejected the motion while Stenhousemuir backed the proposals.

The decision means the Bairns will be awarded second place in the League One standings – but at this stage that WILL NOT be rewarded with a play-off place due to the coronavirus closure to football.

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Falkirk chairman Gary Deans voted down the resolution and sent an accompanying letter to the SPFL. Picture: Michael Gillen.

In an announcement which gave the Fife side the title by a single point and eight games remaining, SPFL chairman Murdoch McLennan said: “Firstly, I want to pass on my warmest congratulations to all three clubs on their successful campaigns. This was a highly unusual end to the season, to say the least, and not the one any of us would have preferred, but all three deserve enormous credit for their performances over the course of the season.

“With the turmoil and uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, there was always going to be a highly-charged and passionate debate about how we secure the future of Scottish football.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this was an existential matter for Scottish clubs, with many of them telling us they were at real risk of going under unless the situation was resolved very quickly, so I’m pleased that the game has moved decisively.

“Whilst more than 80% of clubs agreed with the directors’ written resolution, it’s clear that others were strongly opposed. There has been talk of voiding the season, making emergency loans and so on, but what has been agreed today is not just the best way forward, it was the only realistic way forward and I now call on all 42 clubs to move forward in a constructive and positive way.”

Raith Rovers were promoted as a result of decisions made at tonight's meeting. Picture: Michael Gillen

The matter now means Partick Thistle will be relegated to League One, and Stranraer dropping into league Two while Dundee United and Cove Rangers have both been pronounced winners of the Championship and League Two, respectively.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “Prior to this positive result, we were unable to make the vital end-of-season payments, which will provide a lifeline to so many clubs in the lower divisions. From our detailed discussions with clubs, many were facing an enormous cash-flow crisis. We have moved as quickly as possible to try to resolve this unprecedented situation.

“We’ve achieved the 75% agreement threshold in the Ladbrokes Premiership, Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 and will now be working as quickly as we can to get the end-of-season payments to members in the three lower divisions by the end of this week.”

The SPFL board has also committed to consult on possible league restructuring in time for season 2020/21 around an expanded Premiership model and has appointed Hearts chair Ann Budge and Hamilton Academical chair Les Gray to jointly lead a reconstruction task force