Raith Rovers chairman Bill Clark hopes the SFA arbitration panel’s report will be made public to show there was ‘no smoking gun’ surrounding Dundee’s controversial ‘yes’ vote.
Hearts and Partick Thistle had embroiled Dundee United, Raith and Cove Rangers against their will in a dispute with the SPFL that placed a question mark over their respective Premiership, Championship and League One promotions.
The pair took legal action after being consigned to the drop as a result of April’s controversial ballot –concluded when the Dark Blues performed a U-turn to support it – to curtail the 2019/20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Court of Session referred the case to a three-person arbitration panel convened under SFA rules, with a private hearing taking place last week before yesterday’s ruling which confirmed the Jambos and Thistle’s relegations.
Clark, speaking to the BBC, said: “They have investigated this in great detail last week and come to the conclusion that the SPFL did not act in any way illegally, neither did they act in a way which was different from how any other company might have acted. I’d summarise it in that way.
“When you take the legal route which Hearts and Thistle did, I think you have to accept that you have to be judged on the legal route.
“If the judgement goes against you, I’m sorry, I think you have to accept that judgement.”
Clark believes the SFA arbitration panel looked at 2,000 pages of evidence before delivering its verdict.
He said: “In due course I hope the judgement will be published.
“I think what it will demonstrate is that three learned people, as far as the law is concerned and with lots and lots of experience, have unanimously – after examining all the evidence in detail – come to the verdict that there was no smoking gun as far as the Dundee vote is concerned.
“They think it was absolutely legitimate what happened. Every objection Hearts and Thistle have made, they have disagreed with.”
Dundee chief John Nelms was thrust in the spotlight after the Dens Park club’s initial ‘no’ vote failed to reach the SPFL’s email account, leaving him with the fate of the game in his hands.
Five days later, he switched the Dark Blues’ vote to a ‘yes’, passing the resolution that ended the 2019/20 campaign.
Asked in April about the change, he said: “The biggest thing was, the only way I could see, once we knew what was happening, that we could help anybody – it’s not just helping people but a longer-term, bigger picture – is reconstruction.
“Speaking with a lot of clubs, there was much more of an appetite for reconstruction than I understood going into this. That was the main thing.”
He added: “We were in the worst position possible – we were in third place. There’s not much benefit one way or the other that we could get out of this.
“When people ask me that – I ask what do you think we could we have gotten out of this?
“So, the best thing we could possibly get out of this is a proper conversation about reconstruction.
“That might not benefit us in the short-term, but in the long-term, it would benefit Dundee FC and all of Scottish football. That, for me, was the best thing we could get out of this.
“Does that do anything for us right now? No. But we need to look at it in a much bigger, broader picture as opposed to: ‘What does it do for me right now?’”