Hearts & Partick Thistle say Dundee Utd, Raith & Cove request for financial help may be 'divisive'

Sean Clare and Stuart Bannigan
Hearts and Partick Thistle are trying to overturn their relegations

Hearts and Partick Thistle say the request by three clubs for other SPFL members to help with legal costs "could create further division".

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers could have their promotions overturned if the other two clubs successfully challenge relegation.

They asked Premiership clubs for £5,000, Championship clubs £2,000 and League One and Two clubs £1,000.

The case brought by Hearts and Thistle has gone to arbitration.

"This is not about two clubs, Hearts and Partick Thistle, battling against other member clubs," said Hearts and Thistle in a joint statement.

"This is about these two clubs battling against the organisation, which is meant to look after all of our interests, and holding them accountable for their prejudicial actions.

"We would contend that any club in our position would be taking similar action.

"However, encouraging clubs to fund anyone's costs in this process could create further division.

"We consider such an approach to be at odds with the fundamental requirement of the SPFL rules that the SPFL and each club shall behave towards each other with the utmost good faith.

"We cannot therefore let that pass without comment."

Hearts and Thistle initially went to the Court of Session after their relegations from the Premiership and Championship were not prevented by the SPFL's failed proposal for league reconstruction.

The proposal would also have given Stranraer a reprieve from League One relegation.

Lord Clark decided the rules of the football authorities mean the case must be heard by an independent tribunal set up through the Scottish FA rules.

United say they, Raith and Cove have spent £50,000 so far and believe costs are expected to rise to around £150,000 in the next week when the independent arbitration panel meets to decide if Hearts' and Thistle's claim on being reinstated to the leagues or awarded damages of £10m is heard.

Hearts and Thistle said of United, Raith and Cove: "Those clubs were named in the petition, along with Stranraer, because they are the clubs most likely to be impacted by a decision in our favour. We are not, and have never been, in direct dispute with them.

"The SPFL is opposing our petition and will do so at the forthcoming arbitration. Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were not therefore required to litigate or arbitrate against us. However, they chose to do so.

"For the avoidance of doubt, we accept that was a choice they were fully entitled to make, no doubt having been fully advised of the risks and costs.

"We absolutely know and understand that was not a decision to be taken lightly."

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