Partick Thistle brand SPFL "a disgrace" and accuse Premiership clubs of "settling scores"
09-May-2020 14:00:14 | Herald Scotland
PARTICK Thistle today branded the SPFL a "disgrace" for failing to inform them that league reconstruction had been abandoned and revealed they are "deeply angered" by Ladbrokes Premiership clubs scuppering the plans. Thistle have been relegated to League One after a meeting of top flight clubs yesterday showed there was not sufficient support to push through change in time for the 2020/21 season.The Firhill club were just two points behind Queen of the South and had a game in hand when football was suspended in this country back in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The SPFL resolution on the end of the season ended the Championship, League One and League Two campaigns prematurely and decided final placings on a points per game basis. Partick finished just 0.037 points behinds Queens of the South. The controversial resolution gave a firm commitment to examine league reconstruction - meaning that Hearts, Partick and Stranraer had a chance to avoid relegation through a change to the 12-10-10-10 set-up. Thistle have accused Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack of "patronising nonsense" for suggesting that Scottish football needs to focus its energies on surviving the Covid-19 outbreak. They have also claimed the SPFL executive of failing to support the league reconstruction group and claimed the move smacks of 'settling of scores' in the Premiership. The statement read: "The Partick Thistle Board is deeply angered by the decision to halt league reconstruction due to 'insufficient support for any prospect of league reconstruction at this time' after a meeting of Premiership clubs. "As the reconstruction group hadn’t even formally presented a final proposal, it is surprising and disappointing that this decision could be made regardless," he said. "So it is hard to see this a considered decision about reconstruction, it smacks more about the settling of scores within the Premiership."We know you will share our disbelief and concern so it is important that we share all relevant information with you and, most importantly, reassure you about the club’s future."First of all, the way that this news was made public before clubs affected by the decision knew – and before they could inform staff and players – was a disgrace. Yet again we were left to pick up the pieces due to thoughtless, selfish behaviour that showed no regard for fellow clubs. "Speaking on behalf of the group of Premiership clubs yesterday, Aberdeen FC chairman Dave Cormack said: 'The strong feeling of the group was that we must focus all of our energies on emerging from the crisis we face.' "This is patronising nonsense. Is Mr Cormack suggesting that no clubs in other leagues have considered what’s happening to Scottish football? If so, that is disrespectful and offensive."All of our recent actions and decision-making have taken the bigger picture in to account. We obtained a strong joint counsel’s opinion which raised significant issues around the whole process of the resolution vote and related matters, with the option to take this before a court. "However, we chose not to pursue court action for the greater good of Scottish football in the face of a pandemic and to ensure no harm to fellow clubs, as well as protecting Thistle’s interests."We then accepted an invitation to join the reconstruction group task force. We did so in good faith, despite our initial misgivings that it was not a genuine attempt to address the problems created by a hasty end to the season, after assurances from the SPFL. "Indeed, they – in their statement on April 15 where they confirmed the resolution had passed yet 'forgot' to acknowledge our relegation – stated: 'The SPFL executive will provide all possible services and support to make the work of the task force a success.'"Sadly, this has not proven to be the case, the SPFL has fallen way short in this undertaking."Throughout this process, we have endeavoured to represent the club with determination and dignity despite the divisive and distasteful debate being played out around us. "Last week, we wrote privately, at length, to the SPFL to raise our concerns that their actions were making it harder to bring Scottish football together and could jeopardise the prospect of reconstruction. "With our fears realised, and in the interests of transparency with you, our supporters, we have taken the decision to share that letter today."The SPFL and some clubs, namely the six who were behind that decision yesterday, have now made it even more difficult for Partick Thistle Football Club to emerge unscathed from the crisis we now face. "What’s galling is that it all stems from the arbitrary and unjust way the club was relegated, with no say in it, which effectively saw a members’ organisation inflict damage on us, one of its members, amid the most extraordinary circumstances."Our treatment is unprecedented in Scottish football. During this pandemic, across sport, efforts are ongoing to actively try to prevent damage, yet our governing body inexplicably chose a different path. It has singularly failed in its primary duty of care to a member. "We have been forgotten, ignored and patronised while senior figures, for reasons best known to themselves, have scuppered a potential solution that did the least harm with no regard to the plight of those who have been betrayed for a second time."This is a sad indictment on those who govern our game and the clubs who think this is acceptable, especially when some of them may be in our shoes one day."Despite it all, Partick Thistle will not only survive this injustice but will flourish again. All that yesterday’s development means is that we will achieve this despite the behaviour and actions of the SPFL and some of our fellow clubs. This will serve to drive us forward, not set us back."In purely practical terms, the board and CEO have been running for weeks with parallel plans for the club based on the two possible outcomes of reconstruction talks. We will now work to our Plan B – notwithstanding that there is still no clarity as to when football will return – aided by our manager Ian McCall."Finally, we have been supporting a number of different committees set up to help the SPFL/Scottish FA and clubs to overcome this crisis. We must now reconsider whether our participation in these committees are the best use of club and staff resource at a time when we must put our football club first."Going forward, our focus will now solely be on securing Partick Thistle and looking after everyone associated with the club. Our commitment to you is that when football returns, we will be here and ready to play to win. "We are extremely grateful for all the support you’ve given the club to date – we need it now more than ever. You are our beating heart, your health and wellbeing is more important to us than anything else, so until we meet again at Firhill, stay safe and take care."