ATHLETIC have this evening announced changes at boardroom level - and say that its footballing departments and squad plans are "under review".

In the last few minutes, the club have released a statement that expresses disappointment at their "gut-wrenching" relegation to League One, and said they accepted "ultimate responsibility" for it.

Saturday's Championship play-off semi-final, second leg loss to Queen's Park condemned Dunfermline to the third tier for the first time in six years, with fans quick to vent their anger at full-time.

The club say that recovering from the drop "will not happen unless things change", and they have announced "a leaner and more flexible structure" in the boardroom.

Chairman Ross McArthur, who made his decision to step down from his role at the end of the campaign at the end of the season, officially retired from the board on Monday, as did Kip McBay and Jim Leishman.

Leishman, however, will now take up a club ambassador role, working closely with chief executive David Cook - whose role will be combined with that of chairman - to "help rebuild the connection between supporters and club".

Thomas Meggle, who is part of DAFC Fussball GmbH investment group, is to take on a "more active role in day-to-day football operations", where he will work with Cook and the club's coaching staff to structure footballing activities in a bid to bring a "marked improvement in performance".

After what the club described as a "torrid" season, they have said that no decision has been made over the future of manager John Hughes, whose contract runs until next summer.

He took over from Peter Grant in November, with the Pars winless and bottom of the table, but he failed to stave off relegation.

A section of fans aimed their ire at Hughes following the defeat to the Spiders, but the Pars board said that their "footballing departments and squad plans are currently under review", and that they would keep fans informed of further developments.

The statement, posted on the club's official website, in full, reads: "Like you, everyone on the board of DAFC is deeply disappointed with this past season, which culminated in relegation to League One.

"We are not just disappointed in the relegation itself, but also in the manner in which the relegation came about, with standards falling well short of what we all expect.

"As the board of DAFC, we accept ultimate responsibility for this.

"Bouncing back from this gut-wrenching setback will not happen unless things change, and changes from within the Club are already well underway.

"Starting at the top, at board level, we have decided to give ourselves a leaner and more flexible structure in order to be able to act more decisively and swiftly in the future. These changes had been planned prior to the end of the season. As a first measure, the size of the board has been reduced and responsibilities re-allocated.

"It has been decided that the club will combine the position of chairman and CEO. This role will be assumed by David Cook.

"The vast experience and knowledge of David will be totally focused on the full time running of the club, and the board believe David is well placed to drive forward the changes we wish to make.

"Chairman Ross McArthur and Chris (Kip) McBay retired from the board with effect from Monday 9 May, again steps which had been planned prior to the end of this season. The club owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the work Ross and Kip have done over many years and we thank them for this wholeheartedly.

"Jim Leishman has also retired from the board with effect from Monday 9 May in order to take up the new position of club ambassador.

"Although stepping down from the board, Jim will remain an integral part of the club, and will be heavily active on matchdays. In addition, he will work closely with David Cook to help rebuild the connection between supporters and the club. Jim is a legend and a huge asset to the club and our community.

"As a further measure, current board director Thomas Meggle will be playing a more active role in day-to-day football operations. In consultation with David Cook and the coaching staff, he will structure our footballing activities with the aim of bringing about a marked improvement in performance.

"The footballing departments and squad plans are currently under review. The board will keep you informed as things progress.

"We acknowledge relegation has been an awful experience and we apologise for that. However, the club must now look ahead to do all it can to improve sporting performances and results, and we are confident that we can bounce back from this torrid season.

"We understand and respect how disappointed fans are right now, but we will do everything within our power to bring back success to East End Park and we really hope that you will join us on this journey ahead."