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Monday, 2 April, 2001, 14:09 GMT
Ayr are not at the SPL races
Livingston are the only side that can win promotion
Livingston are the only side that can win promotion
The Scottish Premier League say that only three First Division clubs have the necessary stadium criteria for entry into the top league - and leaders Ayr United are not one of them.

Second placed Livingston, Raith Rovers and Airdrie are the clubs that are eligible for promotion at the end of the season, with only the West Lothian side in with a chance of a step up.

Livingston currently trail Ayr by a point but have two games in hand over the Somerset Park club.

In the event of a club that does not meet the various conditions set out by the SPL wining the title, there will be no promotion to, or relegation from, the SPL.

St Mirren currently occupy the bottom rung in the SPL.

Avoid confusion

The stadium conditions have been in place for four years now and state that all clubs must have a minimum of 10,000 covered seats and a suitable gantry for television coverage.

Ayr cannot meet SPL regulations
Ayr United cannot meet SPL regulations
SPL chief executive Roger Mitchell said that all clubs had been aware of the criteria well in advance.

"As with previous seasons, the deadline was 31 March," said Mitchell.

"It's important that we know the situation of the clubs at the earliest stage to avoid confusion among fans.

Cruelly ironic

"The SPL has received no proposals regarding ground sharing, rental or any other arrangement.

Such alternatives would, in any case, have required the approval of SPL clubs in a general meeting by 31 March.

"These regulations are in place to ensure that top-flight football in Scotland is played in the best possible conditions for players, fans and officials alike."

The irony of the situation is that the company responsible for the construction of many of the country's new stadiums is owned by club chairman, Bill Barr.

There was no relegation from the SPL last season, with bottom club Aberdeen the beneficiary.

The Dons had been set to take part in play-offs between First Division runners-up Dunfermline and Falkirk, who had finished third.

Falkirk's Brockville ground was not up to scratch, and their ground-share plans were blocked, so the Pars went up automatically alongside champions St Mirren as the SPL expanded to 12 teams.

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