PARS chairman Ross McArthur has responded to "accusatory comments" made by Inverness Caledonian Thistle over the weekend.

Talks over league reconstruction - a commitment made by the SPFL after a majority of clubs backed a resolution to terminate the Championship, League One and League Two seasons - broke down on Friday after it failed to gain the support of the majority of top flight teams, plus Championship winners Dundee United.

It means that, if the Premiership is also called to a halt on a points per game average as the other three divisions, Hearts face relegation from the top flight.

It also has implications for Lowland League winners Kelty Hearts who, alongside their Highland League counterparts Brora Rangers, had been hoping to join League Two after the pyramid play-offs that they normally would have contested were scrapped.

Following that, Inverness CEO, Scot Gardiner, and chairman, Ross Morrison, released a lengthy statement yesterday relating to the resolution vote, which took place last month.

They said: "When the club was given notice of the Championship club zoom conference call which was due to take place on the 8th April, there was no indication of what was to be discussed at all. There is nothing unusual in that as previous club conference calls had all been general updates.

"Rumours began to circulate on the night of the 7th (April) that we would be asked to vote on clubs being relegated in order for fee payments to be paid out. We spoke to a fellow Championship club that evening for confirmation of this and they told us that they too had also heard the rumour and they were so alarmed that they had actually asked our SPFL Board representative if it was true. He assured them it was mere speculation and so while we were wary, we did not believe it could be possible as we had all been talking about finding a solution which allowed for no individual club being put in a worse situation than we were all already in. 

"It was a huge shock on the morning of Wednesday the 8th when STV was leaked the story that we would in fact be voting to relegate Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer but not Brechin City and we would have 2 and a half days to either do it, or come up with an alternative solution – something the SPFL Executive were insisting was simply impossible anyway.

"We were then promised that this critically important and lengthy resolution document would be with us prior to all of the divisional meetings starting at around noon. The Premiership clubs were dialling in at noon, the Championship at 1pm, the 1st Division at 2pm and Division 2 at 3pm. 

"We believe that the Premiership clubs were not furnished with the document until after their meeting ended at 1pm which is quite astonishing. Our meeting was delayed until several minutes after 1pm due to what seemed like a panicked and delayed information dump of the resolution to all clubs and the press and after the usual preambles and our SPFL CEO finished speaking, we were left with less than 30 minutes to ask questions on a crucial document which we were frantically trying to speed read, while at the same time listen to the complex “reasoning” that was being given by our SPFL CEO and our SPFL legal advisor. In short, they presented the resolution as the only option. Numerous times the phrases “a gun to our head” or “take it or leave it” were used by various clubs on the call, including by ICTFC. 

"Without going into the specifics at this time, please know that we will testify to the bullying and threats made against our club on Friday 10th by an SPFL Board member and the threats against others by the same SPFL Board member and how these threats were “reported back to the centre” and to the SPFL CEO directly on the day with evidence at any genuine independent investigation with the proper and appropriate scope, should there be one, or at any further subsequent action thereafter. These were threats and not robust conversations."

This afternoon, however, Mr McArthur has responded with a statement of his own on the official Dunfermline website.

He said: "I have said many times over the last couple of months, there are much more important things happening in our community and the wider world at present, than football. These matters should be our priority.

"In that context, it is not only regrettable but extremely embarrassing, that I have to provide this statement following the release of accusatory comments in a Club Statement made by the Chairman and CEO of Inverness, I am sadly now left with no option but to put the record straight.

"The individuals have been very careful not to mention me by name, but their intended target is clearly apparent.

"In life, you stand and fall by your reputation and your actions, and I thank the very many people from other clubs who have contacted me since these “leaked” WhatsApp messages first surfaced, to offer their support. I like the company I keep.

"Since the SPFL director’s resolution was first issued, a number of clubs in the Championship would confirm it is the behaviour of Inverness that has continually been aggressive and confrontational. However, no one felt it necessary to win points in public, as robust conversations take place in the normal course of a competitive business like football.

"Turning to the “allegation” regarding the information that was conveyed by me to Inverness FC, on Friday 10th April 2020.

"As confirmed by their own leaked What’sApp message group, I clearly did so as Dunfermline Athletic FC Chairman and NOT as an SPFL Board Member (as was expressly agreed and verified, before the call with other Championship clubs).

"It most certainly wasn’t a threat, simply a potential consequence of their action not to back the SPFL resolution currently put in front of them, in favour of a counter resolution which was being mooted at that time.

"This resolution would effectively have the same consequence as a “null and void” conclusion to the league season, but the SPFL central distribution monies would still be provided to clubs on their current standing. This was not going to be acceptable to Dunfermline Athletic, Alloa Athletic, Greenock Morton, Queen of the South and Arbroath.

"This had been openly highlighted the previous evening, during a video conference call of all but one Championship club, and raised by two Championship clubs at the time. This meeting was set up by me in good faith.

"Therefore, the communication to the Chairman of Inverness, on Friday 10th April was that any vote in favour of an alternative resolution like this, should the existing one fail, may be entirely dependent on all clubs in the SPFL Championship obtaining an equal (“one tenth”) of the attributable distribution pot for the Championship.

"There are many more things I would like to say, but I will retain my dignity and continue to be more concerned about the long term future of Scottish football at this time. The endless point scoring is becoming tiresome, and I would have preferred to rise above it, but I have a duty to protect the reputation of Dunfermline Athletic FC."