Statement from the SPFL

Statement from the SPFL:

Following the release of the initial batch of league fixtures, SPFL clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 will vote on how to conclude the 2020/21 season.  The vote follows a period of extensive dialogue with the League 1 & 2 clubs’ Steering Group about the number of games that clubs can reasonably expect to play.

The Steering Group, made up of representatives from both divisions, reported to the SPFL Board that all League 1 and 2 clubs had agreed to a 22-match season with a split after 18 games.

The SPFL Board has previously advised that an 18-game season would be the more practical and realistic option, but has agreed to work on the basis of a 22-match season in line with the League 1 & 2 clubs’ wishes.

Following an initial consultation, clubs requested a restart date of 20 March.  Clubs were asked whether they wished to start earlier, on 17 or 18 March, if both home and away clubs agreed to do so – but none did.

Resolutions have now been circulated to all clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 for a divisional vote by each of them, that will require approval from 75% of the clubs i.e., 8, in each respective division.  Clubs have been asked to return their votes as soon as possible.

If 75% approval is not achieved, the SPFL Board will fixture games to deliver the 27-match programme previously agreed for Season 2020/21 by League 1 and League 2 clubs.

The resolutions will include the following details, as proposed by and agreed with the Steering Group:

League 1

• In the event that any club in League 1 has not completed 18 fixtures by Friday 23 April, the SPFL would not produce post-split fixtures for League 1.  League 1 would instead automatically become an 18-game competition for season 2020/21.  The remaining available dates between 23 April and the start of the play-offs would be used to ensure that all clubs in League 1 have played 18 fixtures. It is recognised and accepted that this may mean that some League 1 clubs could have a break in excess of two weeks before competing in the play-offs.

• If any club in League 1 cannot fulfil 18 fixtures by Thursday 6 May, final standings would be calculated on a points-per-game basis.

• In the event that all clubs in League 1 have completed 18 fixtures by Friday 23 April, the SPFL will produce post-split fixtures for League 1. If all League 1 post-split fixtures cannot be completed by Thursday 6 May, the final standings in League 1 will be calculated on a points-per-game basis. These standings will determine which League 1 clubs are promoted / relegated and which are to take part in the Championship / League 1 play-offs and the League 1 / League 2 play-offs.

League 2

• In the event that any club in League 2 has not completed 18 fixtures by Friday 23 April, the SPFL would not produce post-split fixtures for League 2. League 2 would instead automatically become an 18-game competition for season 2020/21. The remaining available dates between 23 April and the start of the play-offs would be used to ensure that all clubs in League 2 have played 18 fixtures. It is recognised and accepted that this may mean that some League 2 clubs could have a break in excess of two weeks before competing in the League 1 / League 2  play-offs.

• In the event that all clubs in League 2 have completed 18 fixtures by Friday 23 April, the SPFL would produce post-split fixtures for League 2. If all League 2 post-split fixtures cannot be completed by Thursday 6 May, the final standings in League 2 will be calculated on a points-per-game basis. These standings will determine which League 2 clubs are promoted and which are to take part in the League 1 / League 2 play-offs as well as any potential Highland / Lowland League play-off.

• If any club in League 2 cannot fulfil 18 fixtures by Thursday 6 May, final standings will be calculated on a points-per-game basis.

The SPFL Board has agreed to delay the play-off competitions between the Championship, League 1 and League 2.  Instead of these competitions commencing on Wednesday 5 May, they will now commence on Saturday 8 May, thereby freeing up an additional mid-week fixture date.

League 1 and League 2 clubs have also agreed with the SPFL Board that the maximum ‘density’ of the fixture schedule, regardless of the number of outstanding fixtures a club might have, will be Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, i.e., not more than 4 League Matches in any 8 consecutive days.

SPFL Company Secretary Calum Beattie said: “Since the suspension of League 1 and 2 matches was lifted by the Scottish FA on 2 March, we have been in near-constant communication with the club representatives that make up the League 1 and 2 Steering Group.  Those discussions have been very productive with everyone working extremely hard to develop a proposition that is agreeable to all parties.

“Although the recommendation from the SPFL Board was that an 18-match season was the most practicable option, we fully recognise and respect the desire from clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 to aim for 22 games.

“I am pleased we have now reached an agreement that I hope will be approved by the clubs in the coming days.”