Raith Rovers crowned League One champions

Iain Davidson and Raith are looking up again.Iain Davidson and Raith are looking up again.
Iain Davidson and Raith are looking up again. | jpimedia
John McGlynn's Raith Rovers will return to the Championship next season after the current campaign was brought to its end.

After much toing and froing, the SPFL confirmed on Wednesday evening that current Championship, League One and League Two tables would finish as they stood before play was stopped due to coronavirus.

As well as being excellent news for the Stark's Park club, others to benefit are Dundee United, who finish top of the Championship and Cove Rangers, who top League Two after 81 per cent of SPFL members voted in favour of a resolution to end the campaign.

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At the season's end Raith sat just one point above Falkirk, with the due still being scheduled to meet each other.

Partick Thistle and Stranraer have been relegated from the Championship and League One respectively.

The SPFL also said it would explore league reconstruction for next term.

Hearts chairman Ann Budge and Les Gray of Hamilton Academical will lead a taskforce, and will be joined by other football figures to provide input and support.

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SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan 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.”

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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 & 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, bringing in other football figures to provide input and support. The SPFL executive will provide all possible services and support to make the work of the task force a success.

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.

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