Dundee are set to vote against the SPFL plan to end the season early as Scottish football braces itself for one of the most momentous days in its history.
The Dark Blues will be right in the thick of it, with Courier Sport understanding managing director John Nelms will cast his team’s ballot against the proposal.
By 5pm on Friday, the nation’s clubs will have voted on the most important decision facing the game in this country in living memory.
The 42 sides have to decide whether or not to call a halt to the season for the Championship, League One and League Two. The Premiership’s fate will be frozen until April 23.
Should the green light be given, the placings in the other divisions will be decided on points per game accumulated before the shutdown.
That would see Dundee United lift the Championship title and Partick Thistle relegated, with Raith Rovers winning League One and Stranraer going down.
Cove Rangers will be League Two title winners if the proposals get the go-ahead, while bottom club Brechin City will be saved. The play-offs are on course to be scrapped.
The league has also committed to consulting with clubs over the possibility of league restructuring ahead of season 2020-21.
Going into Friday’s massive decision, the numbers are intriguing and the Dark Blues are key players.
In the Premiership, you need nine of the 12 clubs to back the resolution for it to be passed. Only two – Rangers and Hearts – have publicly confirmed they will vote no.
In Leagues One and Two, the requirement is for 15 of their 20 clubs to say yes. Falkirk and Stranraer are the only clear no voters there.
The Championship, however, is not so clear-cut. The vote for the resolution needs to be eight out of 10 in that division.
Bottom-placed Partick, as you would expect, were quick out of the blocks to say they would vote against.
The Dens men are set to join them, with their thinking being that they were confident of securing promotion through the play-offs, which will be scrapped if the curtain comes down now.
That leaves those against the proposal needing just one other member to block it and second-placed Inverness Caley Thistle are the prime candidate.
The Highlanders, probably more than most, could do with the cash injection from a prize money payout but the quandary is that they were heading into the prime play-off spot and may seek more reassurances regarding reconstruction before agreeing to back it.
Without that reassurance, Inverness are likely no voters, too, putting the whole SPFL plan in danger of collapse.
The likelihood, in that nightmare scenario for the powers-that-be, is for further concessions to be made regarding the future make-up of the divisions.
As for the Dark Blues, this is the toughest decision that Nelms and owner Tim Keyes have faced during their time in charge.
Indeed, it is a significant day for everyone and fans across the land should take note that they are living through history. The ramifications for the game in this country will be enormous, whichever way the vote goes.
The resolution reads: “The SPFL recommends that clubs approve:
“The immediate termination of season 2019/20 for the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2, without the remaining fixtures in the League being played;
“All play-off competitions being cancelled;
“Final season placings to be determined by the number of points per game earned by each club in the matches they have played. This would result in the following final divisional tables for season 2019/20 in the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2.”
Meanwhile, the pressure on clubs increased last night when the SFA board decided to suspend all football until June 10 on the back of the latest government advice on the coronavirus crisis.
The governing body’s Joint Response Group had initially suspended football until further notice and with a stipulation of April 30 at the earliest but that has been revised.
SFA president Rod Petrie said: “The message is very clear: the government restrictions introduced to save lives must be adhered to and there is no prospect of an early resumption of training let alone organised football in Scotland for several weeks.
“The decision to suspend all football until at least 10 June is to help clubs ensure the safety and well-being of players, staff and supporters as well as take steps to mitigate their costs. “