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Football: Celtic declared champions as Scottish season ends early owing to coronavirus pandemic

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(REUTERS, AFP) – Celtic have been named champions of Scotland for record-equalling ninth consecutive season, after the clubs voted on Monday (May 18) to end the season early due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Professional Football League said in a statement.

"The SPFL has today announced that, following consultation with all 12 top-flight clubs, the board of the SPFL has determined that the 2019-20 Ladbrokes Premiership has been concluded with immediate effect," the league said.

"The decision means that Celtic are crowned 2019-20 champions and Hearts have been relegated to the Ladbrokes Championship."

Neil Lennon's men were 13 points clear of Rangers at the top of the table when the campaign was stopped in March. Dundee United were promoted to the top flight.

Rangers held the record solely when they were champions for nine straight seasons from 1989 to 1997.

They had a game in hand to try and cut that gap and were due to face Celtic twice more before the end of the season.

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A points-per-game method for determining final league placings also sees bottom club Hearts relegated unless there is any progress in talks over league reconstruction.

A similar system was used to determine final positions in Scotland's three lowest footballing tiers, which voted to end their seasons early in April.

Dundee United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers were declared winners of the Championship, League One and League Two and the SPFL released end-of-season payments of over £1.8 million (S$3.1 million) to the 30 clubs to ease their financial burden.

"We would all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters," SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said. "Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on sporting competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time.

"Scottish government restrictions and deep concerns for both player and spectator safety left the SPFL with no realistic option but to call the Ladbrokes PRead More – Source