Aberdeen have confirmed Premiership clubs are against SPFL reconstruction, which means Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer will be relegated to the Championship, League One and League Two, respectively.
After a meeting of top-flight clubs, led by the Dons, this afternoon, Reds chairman Dave Cormack revealed any reconstruction plan put forward by the 15-person SPFL committee on the issue, led by Ann Budge of Hearts and Les Gray of Hamilton, would not receive the 75% backing from Premiership clubs required to pass.
A Dons statement said: “Today’s meeting of the premiership clubs was constructive, with a full and open discussion on reconstruction.
“On behalf of the group Dave Cormack, chairman of AFC, said: “The strong feeling of the group was that we must focus all of our energies on emerging from the crisis we face, due to the pandemic, on getting back to playing football safely and getting fans back into grounds as soon as practicably possible.
““Whilst the group sympathises with the plight of the situation the relegated teams are faced with, it concluded that this is not the right time to consider immediate reconstruction in the midst of a crisis. But the group is willing to engage in and pick up on these discussions once we are through Covid-19.
“The group plans to meet again next week to fully focus on how we get through the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.””
The Premiership’s stance also means there is no prospect of Inverness Caley Thistle – second in the Championship when the season was called early due to the coronavirus and the end-of-season play-offs scrapped – getting into next year’s top-flight.
It also rules out the chance of Highland champions Brora Rangers being in the SPFL next term.
A Highland League statement in response to the news said: “Today’s news that the current work towards SPFL League Reconstruction has been brought to an abrupt and arbitrary halt is disappointing and frustrating in equal measure.
“This year, albeit in difficult circumstances, the SPFL had its first opportunity since the introduction of the Scottish Football Pyramid to meaningfully embrace the spirit of the Pyramid. It is a matter of great regret that the SPFL has chosen to turn away from that.
“All associated with the Highland League share the undoubted disenchantment that will be felt by Brora Rangers and (Lowland League winners) Kelty Hearts.”
Under a mooted shift from the 12-10-10-10 format to three divisions of 14 ICT and Brora would have been rewarded, however, other north teams like Cove Rangers would’ve remained in the bottom tier, despite winning League Two, while Peterhead would have gone from the second bottom division – where they finished eighth – to the bottom tier.