A REUNION with old rivals for Athletic, and promotion for Kelty Hearts, could still take place next season under the latest proposals for league reconstruction in the SPFL.

It has been confirmed this afternoon that the organisation has written to each of its 42 member clubs asking for their views on creating a permanent 14-10-10-10 divisional structure for the beginning of next season.

Under the plan, the three teams that had been due to face relegation - Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer - would retain their place in their respective divisions.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who were second in the Championship when the season was terminated, would join title winners Dundee United in a 14-team top flight, while Pars' rivals from across the Kincardine Bridge, Falkirk, would be granted promotion back to the second tier alongside League One winners, Raith Rovers.

Edinburgh City would go up from League Two with champions Cove Rangers, with Kelty - winners of the Lowland League - and their Highland League counterparts, Brora Rangers, being invited to take up the remaining places in that division.

After a league-wide consultation showed sufficient support to merit a second consultation on this specific proposal, clubs have until 10am on Monday to return an indicative vote.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said: "We've been consulting with our clubs regarding possible reconstruction in recent weeks and asked all 42 clubs to give their views.

"Now that 41 out of 42 clubs have responded, it is clear that there is enough support for a permanent 14-10-10-10 structure to merit a second consultation stage, and we have written to clubs asking for an indicative 'vote' on whether that is something they would vote in favour of, if it was included in a detailed formal resolution.

"It's important to underline that this is not a binding vote, and is intended only to steer the board on whether to put forward a formal resolution for voting on, or not."

As the plan would mean admitting two new member clubs - therefore altering the current financial distribution model, it would require the support of 11 of the 12 Premiership clubs; 17 or more clubs from the Premiership and Championship
combined; and 32 or more SPFL clubs overall.

Doncaster continued: "Understandably, the consultation exercise confirmed there is sympathy for those clubs relegated at the end of season 2019/20, but also that there is no reasonable prospect of clubs approving a temporary reconstruction solution.

"However, the board has judged there is sufficient support for a permanent change to merit this second stage of consultation.

"As ever, it will be up to the clubs to decide whether or not to support this proposal and we will be guided by the democratic outcome of the process.

"We are understandably keen to get clarity one way or another at the start of next week, as the timescales are extremely tight and we are faced with the additional complexities of resuming the season, caused by COVID-19."

Speaking in this week's Press Sport, Dunfermline chairman, Ross McArthur, said that the club would keen an "open-mind" when presented with proposals.

A previous plan, presented by Hearts chair, Ann Budge, suggested creating three divisions of 14, to be reviewed after two years.

When asked about that, McArthur said: "I think you’ve got to be open-minded. As a board, we’ve discussed this and we’d like a permanent solution, but we’ve also got to ensure we survive as Scottish football.

"It’s hard, particularly in the second tier, running a full-time football club with all the overheads, infrastructure and everything else you need. 

"We would look at a temporary solution as well if it means we all come out of this in better shape. We don’t want to lose any clubs.

"You might get a group of clubs saying, yeah, that’s really good, but it only needs two or three clubs in that division to scupper it. 

"That’s the problem with all of this and we’ve got to be careful it doesn’t become a talking shop.

"We need it to basically come to a point at some time soon so we can move on."