Raith Rovers Championship status confirmed

Raith Rovers promotion to the Championship has finally been confirmed after a joint legal bid by Hearts and Partick Thistle to reverse their relegations was rejected by an independent arbitration panel.
Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn.Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn.
Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn.

It remains to be seen if they will pursue the matter further but the verdict by the three-person arbitration tribunal is that relegations from the 2019/20 should stand.

That leaves Hearts in the Championship and Thistle in League One for next season, with Stranraer also consigned to League Two.

All three divisions are due to kick-off on October 17.

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Both Hearts and Partick took legal action against the Scottish Professional Football League after more than 80 per cent of clubs voted to end the 2019/20 campaign based on average points per game.

The decision relegated them and Stranraer, but play-offs were cancelled and promotion from the pyramid below the SPFL was also stopped without any agreement.

Hearts and Thistle petitioned the Court of Session claiming relegations were unlawful and that rules were changed by the SPFL. They argued that Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers should not be promoted, either.

However, Lord Alistair Clark QC referred the matter to arbitration as per Scottish Football Association rules on football disputes. An independent panel spent several days hearing submissions from both sides before reaching its conclusion.

A statement from Raith Rovers welcomed the decision.

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It read: “This has been a difficult time for our club and the decision today means we can now draw a line under this affair and move forward.

“We would like to place on record our grateful thanks and appreciation to all our supporters who contributed to the various fundraising efforts to offset our substantial legal costs.

“Thanks also go to the many football clubs and their supporters throughout the leagues in Scotland for their financial assistance and for the many messages of support.

“This has been a costly distraction and we look forward now to focusing on the challenges that lie ahead for the forthcoming season.”