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Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 19:13 UK

Livi lose appeal against the drop

Gordon McDougall
Gordon McDougall arrives at Hampden Park for the club's appeal hearing

Livingston have lost their appeal against their demotion to the Third Division and will continue playing in Scotland's bottom rung.

The West Lothian outfit's appeal was thrown out by a three-man Scottish Football Association panel under the chairmanship of Lord MacLean.

Livi had been relegated two divisions by the Scottish Football League.

It had been decided that the club had breached insolvency rules after going into administration.

They refused to play their opening league game of the season but have since honoured their fixtures in Division Three.

Livingston chairman Gordon McDougall said last month the club would exhaust all avenues of appeal before it gave up the fight, but failed to overturn the decision after a nine-hour meeting at Hampden Park.

Gordon McDougall, who became chairman of the debt-ridden club following a recent takeover, said he was "very disappointed" with the verdict but accepted they had received a fair hearing.

Livi have one more avenue for appeal - to the Court of Arbitration for Sport - but McDougall revealed taking it that far was unlikely.

"The timescale's the thing - I don't think so," he said. "But we'll look at it. It's just something that we've got to get over."

Had Livi won their appeal, it would have sent the SFL fixture list into chaos.

The SFL, whose own clubs had rejected a previous appeal, faced being forced to void the results of the three Third Division matches the club has played this season.

In addition, the results of the four games played by Airdrie United and Cowdenbeath in the First and Second Divisions, respectively, would also have become void.

Those clubs were promoted as a result of Livi's demotion and it would have meant having to squeeze another 11 fixtures into an already-congested calendar.

CAS cases notoriously take months to resolve and, were Livi to go down that route, it could lead to an entire season's results being written off.

SFL chief executive David Longmuir said: "We had a very long day, a very thorough and fair rehearing of the whole case.


"We move on and let's start talking about getting the ball in the back of the net.

"Livingston will remain a Third Division club this season and I wish them all the best."

Longmuir admitted that the Livingston saga had been a "distraction" and was relieved to avoid the fixture chaos that would have ensued had the club won their appeal.

"It would have been difficult, manageable, possible, not desirable," he said.

Livi were originally punished for commencing administration proceedings after previous owner Angelo Massone had run up debts thought to be more than £1m.

They were thrown out of Division One by the SFL management committee then the SFL member clubs voted to uphold that decision by 16 votes to 10..

Four clubs were not allowed to vote: Annan Athletic, because they are only associate members, Livingston, Airdrie United and Cowdenbeath, because they all had pecuniary interest in the outcome.

Livingston are now in the hands of a group headed by former director Ged Nixon, Neil Rankine, ex-chairman of Dumbarton, and McDougall, former owner of Cowdenbeath.

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see also
Livi to play and fight relegation
14 Aug 09 |  Livingston
Livi future is secured - McDougall
13 Aug 09 |  Scotland
Dundee back Livi's appeal to SFL
11 Aug 09 |  Dundee
Call-off costs Shire and Barclay
10 Aug 09 |  East Stirlingshire
Airdrie to finance new signings
10 Aug 09 |  Airdrie United
SFL postpones Livi game at Shire
08 Aug 09 |  Scottish League
Livi relegated to Division Three
05 Aug 09 |  Livingston

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