Scottish Premier League (SPL) clubs have voted to deny Falkirk FC promotion and ensure Motherwell FC remain a top-flight team next season.
Representatives from all 12 SPL clubs met at Hampden Park, Glasgow to discuss First Division champions Falkirk's plan to groundshare while a new stadium was constructed which fulfilled the league criteria of 10,000 seats.
However, Falkirk's bid to move in with Airdrie United FC at their New Broomfield ground did not gain the 7-5 majority vote required. Doubts about whether Falkirk would have priority rights at New Broomfield, as well as the threat of legal action from other clubs who had spent millions of pounds ensuring their grounds satisfied the 10,000-seater requirement introduced in 1997, swayed the vote against the promotion hopefuls.
New step considered
Falkirk directors led by chairman Campbell Christie were bitterly disappointed at the vote and are considering grounds for appeal. Christie, whose club have been outside the highest division for seven seasons, said: "We will take stock of the situation and we will consider our next steps in consultation with our lawyers."
The SPL's bottom club Motherwell have benefited from the ruling as relegation will be suspended for this year. Despite being stranded at the foot of the table, spending a year in administration and facing a large compensation bill for illegally sacking 19 players, they have survived by default.
League chairman Lex Gold said it was unlikely the clubs would overturn their decision. "It is open to Falkirk to appeal but it is doubtful they would be able to appeal through the Scottish Football Association," he said. "I appreciate that Falkirk will be very disappointed. They have a very good board who are a credit to the club. But the judgment of the clubs was made on the basis of the information available."
Meanwhile, the ten non-Old Firm clubs have withdrawn their threat to resign from the SPL over a dispute with Celtic FC and Rangers FC, after an agreement was struck to alter the voting procedure in the league. "I congratulate my colleagues on achieving this balanced and sensible outcome," said Gold.
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