Scottish football drama continues: SFA take disciplinary action, clubs claim it's 'oppressive'

By John McGinley

July 14, 2020

The ongoing drama in Scottish football rumbled on this afternoon after the Scottish FA issued notices of complaint to Hearts and Partick Thistle for taking their relegation fight to the courts, The Daily Record reports.

Hearts and Thistle took legal action against the SPFL at the Court of Session, seeking to reverse their relegations and, in the event that was not possible, claim significant compensation.

That compensation would have had to be paid by the 42 member clubs, including Celtic, potentially out of future prize money pots.

However, the matter was referred by Lord Clark to an independent arbitration process set-up by the Scottish FA, which has yet to determine how things proceed with the case.

Now the governing body has separately hauled both clubs up in front of the compliance officer for a breach of rule 78, which states: “No member or Associated Person shall take a dispute which is referable to arbitration in terms of Article 99 to a court of law except as expressly permitted by the terms of Article 99.”

A hearing has been set for August 6 to deal with the issue and The Record states punishments could even be as severe as expulsion from the SPFL, having their SFA memberships terminated or being fined up to £1m.

Hearts and Partick Thistle are furious at this and have issued a joint-statement lambasting the Hampden organisation’s action.

It reads, via the official Hearts website: “We are incredulous to have received a Notice of Complaint from the SFA in the circumstances.

“It is oppressive of them to require submissions from both clubs by 20 July when we are, in terms of their own articles of association, actively engaged in arbitration.

“As our focus must be squarely on that, we have already requested the SFA to review the timing to allow us to be properly prepared and represented. That is the very least we should expect from the process.”

Hearts owner Ann Budge / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The curtailment of last season’s league campaigns has been a contentious issue, even as it became apparent it was the only sensible way to proceed.

Some clubs were always going to lose out, whether it be on promotion or because they were relegated, as the appetite for reconstruction simply wasn’t there.

Legend Kenny Dalglish spoke at the weekend about his concerns that a ruling in the duo’s favour from the arbitration process could lead to clubs questioning Celtic’s title win last term.

No doubt the club will be watching what happens next very closely indeed.

In other news, Celtic have been linked with a loan move for Wolves attacker Daniel Podence.