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Scottish lower tier season ends as SPFL resolution to end Scottish Championship, League 1 and 2 campaign is passed after chaotic week

By Craig Christie

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ELGIN City's season is officially over after SPFL clubs voted in favour of a league resolution to end the campaign now.

The SPFL resolution has been passed
The SPFL resolution has been passed

It was confirmed today that the Championship, League 1 and League 2 programmes for 2019-20 have been concluded, with Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers awarded the title for each division.

Clubs will also receive their end-of-season prize money, with Elgin being awarded third place in League 2 but no chance of promotion as the play-off system for this season has been scrapped.

The SPFL also revealed that a league reconstruction task force has been formed, raising the possibility of an expanded Premiership for next season.

The task force will be led by Hearts chair Ann Budge, whose club was in relegation trouble at the foot of the Premiership table before the season was postponed, and Les Gray, chairman of the second bottom Premiership club Hamilton.

The league statement read: "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 Ann Budge and Les Gray to jointly lead a reconstruction task force, bringing in other football figures to provide input and support.

"The resolution also gives authority to the board to make a decision on the remainder of the Ladbrokes Premiership season and the board is committed to consulting with Premiership clubs before any such decision is made.

A decision is expected soon on whether or not efforts will be made to play remaining Premiership fixtures once restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 crisis are scaled back.

The league vote on the SPFL's resolution to end the season turned into farce last Friday when it transpired that Dundee's vote - which was the final one to be received and the deciding vote in the process - had still not been ratified.

This left the process in limbo,even though the Dens Park club were reported to be claiming they had voted against the resolution - an outcome which would have defeated the resolution.

However, after several days of confusion over the result of the vote and threats of legal action from several clubs, the SPFL announced that the resolution has been passed - meaning Dundee's reported 'no' vote had been overturned.

There remains confusion on how the four Scottish divisions will set up next season.

The resolution set out to end the season by promoting the Championship, League 1 and League 2 winners, as well as relegating Partick Thistle and Stranraer who were bottom of the Championship and League 1 respectively when football was suspended on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “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.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added: “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 & 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.”

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