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Hearts lose legal fight against relegation from Scottish Premiership

Hearts’ relegation from the Scottish Premiership was confirmed on Monday after an arbitration panel upheld the Scottish Football Professional League (SPFL) decision to settle the curtailed season on a points-per-game basis.

The panel also ratified the relegations of Partick Thistle and Stranraer, from the Championship and League One respectively, and the promotions of Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers.

Hearts and Thistle took legal action after being consigned to the drop as a result of the vote by clubs to end the season amid the coronavirus pandemic and a breakdown in talks over league reconstruction.

The SPFL welcomed the ruling with chief executive Neil Doncaster describing it as a “clear, comprehensive and unanimous decision”.

“I am absolutely delighted that our approach has been vindicated throughout, following an intense period of legal scrutiny and review,” he added.

The panel dismissed claims by Hearts and Thistle for compensation totalling £10 million ($13 million).

The 2020/21 Scottish Premiership season will start on Saturday, but the three leagues below the top flight are not due to return until October with a shorter 27-game season designed to reduce costs for COVID-19 testing and the loss of matchday income.

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