KELTY HEARTS have been declared champions of the Lowland League, it has been confirmed.

This afternoon, league organisers have announced their decision to end the season with immediate effect, and have awarded the title to Barry Ferguson's team.

Before play was suspended, they were top of the table with five matches remaining, and six points clear of second-placed Bonnyrigg Rose, having played a game more.

The league board have taken their decision based on the points per game average, and have confirmed no relegation will take place.

In a statement, the league said: "The board of the SLFL have today decided to end the league competition with immediate effect.

"The board took into account the points per game average based on the standings at the cessation of football on the 13th March, and as such have declared that Kelty Hearts are this season’s champion Club.

"Furthermore, the board would like to make it clear that it feels that no member club should be disadvantaged by the current health crisis we face, and as such there will be no relegation from the SLFL in season 2019/20.

"We are aware of the implications for our fellow pyramid leagues, the EoSFL (East of Scotland Football League) and SoSFL (South of Scotland Football League), and will announce contingency plans to cover this in due course."

In a statement released by the club in the last few minutes, Kelty said: "Absolutely not the way anyone at the club would have wanted this season to finish and football really does pale into insignificance of what battles we are all facing in life just now, most notably the NHS, people and families affected by this terrible virus.

"The manager, Barry Ferguson, his staff, and most of all the players, have put in tremendous effort, skill and sacrifices since May last year and throughout the season.

"They have performed at a consistent level over the season played and have been top of the Lowland League for the majority.

"On that basis, we shall accept the board's call in being crowned the Lowland League champion club for 19/20."

Uncertainty remains, however, for Kelty and their Highland League counterparts, Brora Rangers.

Ordinarily, the winners of both divisions would play a two-legged play-off for the right to play the bottom side of League Two - currently Brechin City - in the pyramid play-off final.

But, with clubs in the SPFL being asked to vote on a resolution to terminate the Championship, League One and League Two seasons, there is no clarity on whether access to the SPFL will be available to Kelty and Brora.


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