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CELTIC TITLE CRUNCH LOOMS

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THE SPFL bosses are on a collision course with UEFA after being ordered to complete the season.

Europe’s governing football body issued threats if their wishes were not complied with and that will assuredly lead to a reaction from the Scotland soccer hierarchy.

In the fall-out of Belgium declaring the season over and awarding the title to Club Brugge, UEFA fired out a blunt warning to smaller nations their clubs’ participation in the Champions League and Europa League next season is in jeopardy if they make championship-g conclusions.

As confusion reigns in football due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, president Aleksander Ceferin repeated the threat on German television yesterday while saying games could be played behind closed doors.

UEFA maintain league campaigns can still be finished in July and August, even as Ceferin conceded it will be mid-May at the earliest before they can plan further.

He was prompted to speak out after the Belgians became the first in Europe to recommend scrapping the campaign while awarding the championship to Brugge, 15 points ahead of Mikael Lustig’s Gent side.

Celtic, of course, were 13 points ahead at the Premiership pinnacle with eight games to play when the game went into cold storage.

Ceferin said: “The Belgians and the federations that could consider doing the same are risking participation in next year’s competition.

“Football is not the same thing without fans, but it is certainly better to play football without fans and get it back on television, rather than nothing.

“This is what people want, a little positive energy at home.

“It will probably happen in July or August. We can’t play in September or October.”

The SPFL, according to media reports, are planning on calling the season as soon as their legal advice allows. That would allow them to distribute the prize money on which many clubs will rely to see them through the summer.

That would mean the Hoops being declared champions for the ninth successive year with Hearts facing relegation with Championship leaders Dundee United poised for the step up to the top flight and the other leagues making according readjustments.

They would be following the example of the Belgium bosses who have told UEFA they will NOT be forced into completing its league, despite a threat of expulsion from European competitions.

They have called on European supremos to take a “variable approach” in order to achieve solidarity within football.

Their decision to award the crown to Brugge is expected to ratified a week on Wednesday the Belgians released a statement last night after it had held a conference call with their football association and UEFA.

The statement read: “A remote meeting was held for more than an hour this Friday morning between UEFA, RBFA (the Belgian FA) and the Pro League.

“This constructive meeting allowed Belgian football leaders to explain in detail the health and economic reasons for the recommendation issued yesterday by the Board of Directors – and to challenge any approach that would consist of forcing a league to continue its competition in the current state of the health crisis under threat of not being able to participate in European competitions next season.

“In favour of solidarity within European football, our representatives called for a variable approach to this concept which makes it possible to take into account both the specificities of each league.

“A new meeting between the same parties will be scheduled within a week.”

UEFA wrote to all 55 member associations asking them to “walk united” as they tackle the growing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with officials understood to be working towards scenarios which extend beyond the current preferred deadline of June 30.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton, now a top media pundit, accused the European bosses of “schoolboy bully” tactics, as CQN reported.

 
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