CLUBS across the SPFL are preparing to cast their votes this morning on proposals for league reconstruction ahead of next season.

Each of the organisation's 42 members have until 10am to submit an "indicative vote" on whether to adopt a 14-10-10-10 structure.

If that is backed by the clubs, Kelty Hearts - winners of the Lowland League - and their Highland League counterparts, Brora Rangers, would be invited to join League Two.

Ahead of the vote, here's everything you need to know.


What are clubs voting on?

An expanded Premiership, moving from 12 to 14 teams, on a permanent basis.

The proposal, which has been put forward by Hearts chairwoman, Ann Budge, would see her club spared relegation from the top flight. Championship runners-up, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, would join winners Dundee United in the top flight.

Partick Thistle would retain their second-tier status and would be joined by Falkirk; Stranraer would stay in League One, with Edinburgh City moving up a division; while Brora Rangers and Kelty Hearts – respective champions of the Highland and Lowland Leagues – would compete in next season’s League Two.

Why has the proposal been put forward?

The three SPFL clubs that were relegated as a result of the decision to curtail the 2019/20 campaign – Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer – feel that they have been treated unfairly by being demoted without having the chance to save themselves on the pitch. Brora and Kelty, meanwhile, feel aggrieved that they have been denied the opportunity to enter the professional pyramid.

How will the vote work?

Ballots must be submitted by 10am at the latest this morning, after which the results will be published.

It is an idicative vote, meaning that clubs are only giving an impression of how they would vote should a formal resolution be put forward.

In order for the vote to be successful, there are a number of thresholds that must be met.

In the Premiership, 11 of the 12 clubs must vote in favour. Between the top two divisions, 17 must back the proposal and overall, 32 of the 42 SPFL members need to support it.

What happens if the vote is successful?

If teams are willing to back the restructuring, then an Emergency General Meeting will be called where clubs will formally vote on a resolution. Unlike today’s vote, this would be final and if that was successful too, then the 14-10-10-10 set-up would be brought in for the 2020/21 season.

What happens if clubs reject the proposal?

In the event that reconstruction is rejected, then the new campaign will follow the usual 12-10-10-10 template. Hearts, Partick and Stranraer will stay relegated with only the champions of each division gaining promotion.

That could spark a legal challenge from Hearts, who have previously threatened taking the SPFL to court over their relegation. The Gorgie club argue that the financial implications of demotion would result in a substantial loss of earnings and as the previous season was not played to its completion, they would be due compensation from Scottish football’s governing body.

Partick Thistle have previously stated that they have explored their legal options but decided that an unsuccessful court case could prove too costly for the club and is therefore not worth the risk. Should the proposal fail and Hearts launch a legal challenge, it is estimated that the three relegated clubs could receive around £5 million from the SPFL, with Budge’s side collecting the vast majority of the pay-out.

What way is the vote likely to go?

Time will tell but there have been suggestions it will go against reconstruction, with financial reasons playing a major part. 

Admitting an additional two clubs into the SPFL – Kelty and Brora – would result in every club getting a lesser share of prize money at the end of each season, although Kelty have gone on record as saying they would forfeit any prize money in their first season in the SPFL. Receiving less of the prize pot may sway which way clubs vote. Press Sport, though, understands that Dunfermline are keen to see clubs in the pyramid continue to have a possible route into the SPFL, and an expanded top flight.