Dunfermline docked 15 points following administration
Dunfermline Athletic have been docked 15 points for going into interim administration.
The Scottish Football League enforced the immediate points deduction following a board meeting.
The penalty puts the First Division side into ninth place, two points behind neighbours Cowdenbeath in the relegation play-off spot.
A transfer embargo also prohibits the Pars signing players aged over 21 until they come out of administration.
Dunfermline will also be subject to a further 10-point penalty and be required to pay a £150,000 guarantee if they do not secure a Company Voluntary Arrangement by the start of next season.
The SFL judgement ensured that bottom side Airdrie could not be relegated later in the evening.
Had the Diamonds lost away to Hamilton Academical while Cowdenbeath defeated visitors Livingston, the Excelsior Stadium outfit would definitely end the season at the foot of the table.
However, the Pars are now only eight points above Airdrie with five games left until the end of the season.
The Fifers' cause is also not helped by having made seven first-team players redundant after entering interim administration two weeks ago in a bid to avert a winding-up order over a £134,000 tax bill.
Dunfermline have the right of appeal, but interim administrator Bryan Jackson accepted the SFL decision.
"I received a fair hearing from the SFL board and knew that there would be some sanctions imposed by the SFL because of the administration," he said.
"The decision to deduct 15 points from the club is disappointing but expected. This will undoubtedly make what is already a difficult job even harder.
"However, at least this decision means that we know where we stand and what has to be done on and off the park.
"The next few months will be difficult, but I believe, with the support of Pars United, the fans and wider community of Dunfermline, that there is some hope for a positive outcome.
"Whilst I was encouraged by the support and all the donations at last Saturday's match, I cannot stress enough that we need the fans to continue turning up until the end of the season if the club is to survive through the summer."
Jackson rates Dunfermline's chances of avoiding liquidation as 50-50 and says that a Company Voluntary Arrangement must be agreed with creditors before the start of next season if they are to do so.
The Scottish Premier League and SFL are in the midst of discussions about a league reconstruction that could take place next season.
There will be no relegation from the First Division if reconstruction plans are voted in.
However, the SPL might be unable to secure the 11-1 majority needed to send the plans to the lower-league clubs for approval.
Explaining its decision to dock the Pars 15 points, the SFL stated: "The Scottish Football League regrets the current situation that Dunfermline Athletic FC finds itself in.
"We are fully aware of the impact this situation has had on all concerned, especially players, staff and fans of the club.
"The SFL has a duty to protect the integrity and on-going smooth-running of the league and therefore, following a thorough process, the SFL board has decided that Dunfermline Athletic Football Club Limited is guilty of conduct contrary to league rules, the interests of the league and its member clubs.
"In the face of current challenges, our ultimate aim is to ensure that clubs survive and communities continue to have a local team to support."