Scottish Premiership: Uefa paves way for SPFL to call top flight

If the Scottish Premiership is finished early, Celtic will be crowned champions
If the Premiership is finished early, Celtic will be crowned champions

Uefa has paved the way for the unfinished Scottish Premiership season to be called by outlining reasons for ending leagues including "insurmountable economic problems" or a ban on sports events.

The SPFL board can curtail the top flight after its resolution to end the lower leagues was passed by clubs.

If they were to do so, it would crown Celtic champions and relegate Hearts.

Uefa warned on Tuesday leagues should only be cancelled in "special cases".

And after an executive committee meeting on Thursday, European football's governing body has clarified its stance.

Uefa still urged associations to use their "best efforts" and explore all possible options, including a different format, to complete domestic competitions before the Champions League and Europa League resume, which they hope will be August.

But in a statement, European football's governing body added two sets of circumstances in which it would be acceptable to end a season prematurely, including:

  • Existence of an official order prohibiting sports events so that the domestic competitions cannot be completed before a date that would make it possible to complete the current season in good time before the next season to start.
  • Insurmountable economic problems which make finishing the season impossible because it would put at risk the long-term financial stability of the domestic competition and/or clubs.

With at least eight games left to play Celtic are 13 points clear of Rangers in the Premiership, while Hearts are four points behind Hamilton Academical at the bottom.

It is now up to the SPFL to demonstrate either of the two criteria has been met should they move to stop the current campaign now.

The league has said it is committed to consulting with top flight clubs before making a final decision, with Aberdeen one of those to ask that options to finish the campaign are examined.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday that "big gatherings and events" are off for "some months to come" and had previously cast doubt on playing matches behind closed doors.

Uefa added that if a league were to be ended early, then domestic organisers- in Scotland's case, the SPFL - will select teams to compete in next season's European competitions based on sporting merit and "on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles".

Uefa says it reserves the right to refuse nations' submissions if they do not meet that criteria.