KELTY HEARTS say that they "cannot hide our disappointment" over reports that League Two clubs would only back a reconstructed SPFL involving its 42 members.

This afternoon, the New Central Park club have released a statement following suggestions over the weekend that the fourth tier's 10 clubs are in favour of three leagues of 14 being introduced next season.

Barry Ferguson's team were, earlier this month, declared champions of the Lowland League on a points per game average, having been clear of Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic at the top of the standings when football was suspended in March.

They, together with Highland League winners, Brora Rangers, had been due to play-off against each other as part of the pyramid structure between tier five and the SPFL.

The winners of that would then play League Two's bottom club - which, at the time of play being stopped, was Brechin City - for a place in that division next season.

However, an SPFL resolution to terminate the Championship, League One and League Two campaigns was backed by its clubs, meaning that play-off matches were scrapped.

It was also agreed that clubs would be consulted over possible reconstruction - something that Kelty have called for previously - in time for next season.

If a proposal for three divisions of 14 clubs was approved, it would mean neither Kelty or Brora would be promoted, but an option of a 14-team Premiership, and three divisions of 10, would likely see them invited into League Two.

Kelty have previously stated that they would forego any prize money for next season if they were accepted into the SPFL, and have repeated that stance this afternoon.

The club said: "As massive believers of the principles of sporting integrity, and of the SFA football pyramid, the board of Kelty Hearts FC cannot hide our disappointment of reports of the meetings of SPFL2 clubs and the decision they have reportedly made to back only a proposal of a 14-14-14 league set up.

"This decision would obviously see no chance of promotion of either of the recognised tier 5 champions, Brora Rangers, and ourselves.

"The decision for Kelty Hearts to leave the junior ranks and join the SFA pyramid was made purely on the opportunity to raise the stature of our club, community and for them to develop.

"This decision has proved correct so far, as we have progressed through the juniors, the East of Scotland League and into the Lowland League.

"The next stage is obviously to see the club, and our community at large, have the opportunity to be noticed at national level with representation in the SPFL."

They added: "To possibly help the financial situation and fears for the current League Two clubs and the 42 clubs, if splitting the money up 44 ways as opposed to 42 was the main issue, then to negate that stumbling block Kelty Hearts FC would like to go on record to say that we shall be prepared to forfeit any league prize money for the first season if we were offered the opportunity to compete in the SPFL in season 20/21.

"This is a whole lot more than finances for Kelty Hearts FC and our 300 member strong Kids Community Club, and very much about not being hugely impacted negatively and unfairly by this pandemic after so much effort and investment."

In a statement, Brora Rangers chairman, William Powrie, commented: "Brora Rangers Football Club are concerned by the proposals being put forward by a group of League 2 clubs which would see a reconstruction model of 14-14-14, which through implementation would see both Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts locked out of progression into the SPFL.

"Whilst both clubs absolutely acknowledge that the seasons pyramid process could not be completed as planned, we both took great comfort that our position as respective winners of the Highland and Lowland Leagues would be discussed within the reconstruction task committee which is currently meeting.

"Without the natural conclusion of the playoffs any escalation into the next tier of the national game would we feel be through the principle of natural justice. Likewise that same natural justice which applies to the brief of the reconstruction group, that no club should be in a worse financial or sporting position due to the effects of the COVID -19 pandemic.

"We absolutely understand the concerns of the League 2 block, that they would not wish to see their share of the future financial cake be diminished, but again we take great comfort from reconstruction group Co-Chairperson Ann Budge that she feels these concerns can be allayed. The new SKY TV will no doubt be of great help in assisting the financial modelling.

"With any return to playing likely to be some way in the distance yet, the reconstruction group we are sure will be given the time to discuss fully the options that can be carried to a full members vote. This we feel is a far more equitable outcome than premature factional blocks with “force majeure” propositions.

"Whilst Brora and Kelty are both very much on the outside of these deliberations, our exclusion from uplift we feel would not sit at all comfortably with the principles of the SFA progression from the feeder leagues and we have every confidence that the reconstruction group will pay due cognisance to this, as will the broader church of all SPFL clubs.

"Both clubs feel we have much to offer the national game and stand ready to make that progression should an invitation arise."

Last week, a reconstruction group, headed by Hearts chair, Ann Budge, and her Hamilton Academical counterpart, Les Gray, began discussions over the issue.

They are joined by representatives from clubs throughout the leagues, including Raith Rovers' Bill Clark and Falkirk's Gary Deans, as well as Lowland and Highland league representatives, George Fraser and Rod Houston.

We will have more on this in Thursday's Press Sport.