Debate has rumbled on for days as to what happens with the Scottish football season. From Hearts’ relegation to Celtic lifting the league title, nobody quite knows what’ll occur.

But what do some of the rules actually say about all this? The SPFL is currently suspended for an indefinite period as the world fights a global health pandemic, leaving Scottish football in the dark over what happens this term.

An uncertain time. (Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

The SPFL board comprised of members from clubs across Scotland will have the thankless task of combining the rules, sporting integrity and financial implications to try and work out how to conclude this term.

A complex document spanning almost 250 pages will be referred to, which may help them figure out what’s best to implement. The definition of the word season is clearly stated.

“Season means the period of the year commencing on the date of the first league match in a season and ending on the date of the last league match in the same season or otherwise as determined by the board and which excludes the close season,” it states.

Neil Doncaster will be one of the decision makers. (Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

This may strengthen the argument for the league to be canned after 30 games, leading to Hearts going down and Celtic becoming champions. Rule A3 is also key as it essentially means you read each rule as a standalone rule. They aren’t mixed and matched – It’s purely on that specific rule.


That then takes you to Rule C38, which states: “The club occupying position one in the league at the end of a season shall be declared the champion club of the league and shall hold the “The Scottish Professional Football League Championship Trophy” until the next season’s league competition is concluded.”

Quite simply, this means the SPFL hold the power to call the league as it is with a clear winner, Celtic in this instance, meaning Hearts would potentially go down.

These rules are very much subject to a legal argument, at this stage most likely to come from Hearts after owner Ann Budge confirmed she’ll press legal charges if Hearts are relegated. There will be winners and losers from this situation and the task of those on the SPFL board is not one to envy.

Have something to tell us about this article?