After many protracted arguments and a voting procedure that was haphazard, to say the least, the SPFL have finally decided to call time on their top level of league competition and although Celtic have claimed a ninth successive championship, the focus is on potential legal action.
With the season finishing early, there was always going to be a point of contention somewhere and it is Hearts who have suffered the ignominy of relegation – a decision that owner Ann Budge has not taken lightly at all.
At the time of the enforced hiatus, there were still eight matches left to play and with Hearts four points adrift from St. Mirren at the foot of the table, a late and great escape was still very much a possibility.
Hearts Threaten Legal Action After SPFL Relegation
Form Before Fixtures
However, for that to happen, the Edinburgh outfit would have had needed an almighty reversal of fortunes and with performances at Tynecastle being rather forgettable this season, critics will argue that the table does not lie.
With that said, the 2012 Scottish Cup winners have taken severe umbrage to the SPFL’s edict and although their battles are usually fought on the playing field, we are now potentially set for a long hot summer of frenetic legal action.
Ann Budge and her fellow members of the Hearts’ board believe that no team should be punished in these current circumstances and although they do have a point, at the same time Dundee United should not be punished either.
That’s because they were granted the status of SPFL Championship winners and with that, they have been earmarked for promotion to Scotland’s top tier, which means it is arguably easier to punish a poor team, rather than a good one.
Ultimately 13 into 12 just won’t go and although there is one person left without a seat at the top table, there could still be a final twist in the tale and one that sees a couple more chairs found from the spare room.
Reconstruction is an often-mentioned topic in the Scottish game and with Hearts’ very own Ann Budge acting as co-chair in a 15-person task force, the obvious signs for self-preservation have been clear for all to see.
Any change in the competition of the format and one that most importantly sees the Premiership expanded to 14 teams has already been dismissed and with the Edinburgh based businesswoman now trying to force through temporary plans instead, one wonders how success will now be found.
If as expected, the status quo remains as it currently is, then Hearts will have to cut their already tight budgets further and although they will be favourites to bounce back at the first opportunity, demotion is something that they can certainly do without.
Which also asks the question, do they have the financial stomach for a lengthy court case, or will the SPFL somehow find some money down the back of the sofa in terms of a ‘solidarity payment’ and all the bluster will eventually turn to a begrudging acceptance. Time will tell, but money always talks.