On the day that the SPFL have released the Premiership fixture list for 2020/21, which is scheduled to start on 1st August, instead of looking forward and planning for the forthcoming season, we find ourselves embroiled in preparation work for the SFA arbitration process that starts this week in respect of the action raised by Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle.

As confirmed in our joint statement on Friday, we, along with Dundee United and Raith Rovers, were pleased with Lord Clark’s decision to refer the dispute to arbitration, however we remain clearly upset  that we are having to devote considerable time and incur significant legal costs in defending this action. Together, we have already incurred costs of over £50,000, and face further legal fees for the arbitration process that could take the total bill to over £150,000.

Given the serious financial implications of these escalating legal costs for Dundee United, Raith Rovers and ourselves, the clubs are still considering withdrawing from the arbitration process.  However, this would allow the expert panel of arbiters to judge the case raised by Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle without any submissions from us in defending our position against the Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle petition, which seeks to reverse a decision that was made by 81% of the SPFL member clubs.

If successful in their action, in our opinion Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle would compromise the sporting integrity of the SPFL with clubs having been declared champions of their league not being promoted. Having won League Two by a considerable margin and having already prepared for the required investment to participate in League One, a decision to overturn the SPFL resolution that was supported by 34 of the 42 member clubs would be seriously prejudicial for us and our fans.

Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle could also be awarded significant sums in terms of compensation. Their compensation claim is for a total of £10 million. For the SPFL and its member clubs this would have potentially catastrophic consequences, with any compensation payment made to Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle being paid directly out of SPFL funds that are distributed to all clubs each season as prize money.

It is with these factors in mind, that, along with Dundee United and Raith Rovers, we are asking our fellow member clubs for support in defending this action, which has not only potentially grave consequences for us, but every SPFL club. We also intend running a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help fund the huge legal bills that we have and will incur. We hope that as well as our own supporters, fans of clubs across Scotland will see this as a worthy cause to get behind, in that if Heart of Midlothian and Partick Thistle are successful in their action it could have serious ramifications for the whole of Scottish football.