Soccer-SPFL to release end-of-season payments to Scottish clubs in lower tiers

April 17 (Reuters) - The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) said it will release end-of-season payments of more than 1.8 million pounds ($2.25 million) to clubs in the lower divisions on Friday after a resolution to end the season was passed with a majority vote.

Scotland’s 42 professional clubs voted digitally on a proposal to end the season immediately across the lower tiers and in the top-tier Premiership if it becomes clear the campaign cannot be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league announced on Wednesday that the vote had been passed with an 81% majority, meaning Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were declared champions of the Championship, League One and League Two respectively.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said the end-of-season funds would help ease the financial burden on the 30 clubs whose revenues took a major hit due to the pandemic.

"SPFL staff have been working hard to ensure that these vital end-of-season payments are made available to clubs across the three divisions as soon as possible," Doncaster said in Friday's statement here.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Scottish football has been devastating, with no club left untouched or undamaged by the restrictions placed on our everyday life.

“This unprecedented situation has left clubs facing the stark reality of an extremely challenging financial landscape that could have seen a number of our clubs simply cease to exist.”

The Premiership, which Celtic lead by 13 points, will not be called off until at least April 23, the earliest date governing body UEFA would accept the abandonment of top divisions to avoid the possibility of being barred from European competitions.

The handling of the vote was slammed by Rangers boss Steven Gerrard and Hearts owner Ann Budge, with the bottom-placed Edinburgh-based club in danger of being relegated.

$1 = 0.8013 pounds Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris