The Spanish Football League (LFP) has announced that Elche would be relegated to the Spanish second division (Liga Adelante) as a result of the club’s outstanding debts of around 8 million euros (about $9 million) with the Spanish treasury and members of its playing staff.

The decision, which was taken under article 76 of the Spanish 1990 Sport Law on Friday, means that SD Eibar, who finished third from bottom of the league table when the season ended a fortnight ago earn an unlikely reprieve and will play their second campaign in the top-flight next season, reports Xinhua.

Elche had overcome their economic problems on the field and led by coach Fran Escriba, they finished in a creditable 13th place with 41 points.

Thursday saw Elche President, Juan Anguix publish an open letter to fans assuring "with the law in hand justice must be done… Elche is and will be a La Liga club because we are certain that the law will support our right to continue in the division that we earned on the pitch," while on Friday the club announced it would appeal against the decision, which Anguix described as the "greatest injustice in football."

Meanwhile Eibar President, Alex Aranzabal admitted that although his club’s return to the top-flight would not be certain until all of the Elche’s appeals had been exhausted; he welcomed Friday’s decision as the "vital first step".

A year ago saw Murcia relegated from the Liga Adelante to the third tier as a result of outstanding debts, while Eibar, who ended the 2013/14 season in profit, were almost unable to assume their place in the Primera Liga as the law stated the club needed to increase its capital, which it did by selling shares to football fans all over the world.