STARK’S PARK chairman Bill Clark insists the financial support received from other SPFL clubs has allowed Raith Rovers, Dundee United and Cove Rangers to continue their legal battle.
The Fifers supremo warned earlier this week that Rovers were at risk of going bust amid the soaring costs of fighting the petition tabled by Hearts and Partick Thistle.
A joint statement by the Championship, League One and League Two title-winners confirmed that the final bill could rise to £150,000 by the time the Scottish FA’s arbitration process has been completed.
As a result, Clark was giving serious consideration to withdrawing Raith’s defence.
However, he has been buoyed by the response of other SPFL members and, while reluctant to reveal the figure raised, says the additional income is enough to allow the three named clubs to stand their ground.
Dundee United, Raith and Cove Rangers could all feasibly see their promotions reversed if the ruling goes against them – with proceedings understood to be slated to get underway on Monday or Tuesday of next week.
Clark confirmed: “We have decided to continue to participate in the legal process, largely due to the financial support we have received from clubs throughout the country – in all divisions.
“A substantial amount of money has been pledged to support us and we’ve been very heartened by that.”
Even if the promotions and relegations are not quashed, the SPFL could yet be liable for a substantial compensation payout, with Hearts angling for £8 million and Partick Thistle aiming for £2 million.
Clark continued: “I think a lot of clubs have come to realise that it’s not just the three clubs involved in the petition who stand to lose out.
“There are financial risks for every single club in the SPFL.
“I’ve spoken to the Championship clubs, with the exception of Hearts, for obvious reasons, and Inverness, who have their own particular view on the world.
“We have had an excellent response from them, and from the Premiership and League One and Two.
“If you add the crowdfunding efforts, which we hope will also be successful, then we believe we can go forward with this process.”
However, Clark has emphasised that it is not merely bank balances which could suffer – contending that the reputation of every club which voted to curtail the campaign is on the line.
The contentious ballot to end the season is likely to be put under the microscope next week, including all communications between SPFL representatives and Dundee chief executive John Nelms which preceded the Dee’s infamous U-turn.
Despite the controversy, the motion ultimately passed with 81 per cent of the vote
And Clark said: “It’s not just about money – there is a risk to reputations.
“The [Hearts and Partick] petition is effectively saying that all of those in the 81 per cent who voted Yes in the original ballot to curtail the league did so with prejudice against Hearts and Partick.
“That is a serious allegation and absolutely not the case at. Clubs made up their minds for all sorts of different reasons.”