Earlier this month we discussed the English Football League, where Championship clubs are in particular danger. Unlike the SPFL there is little leadership from “the centre”. Clubs and the League hope to complete the season and only yesterday published a plan on what to do in the event that is not possible.
Completing the season will require investment in blanket testing which will cost hard-up clubs millions of pounds, players would need to be taken off furlough (where applicable) weeks before games are played, and there will be zero ticket money generated.
All this helps clubs, fans and everyone else feel better about the sporting integrity of their competitions, but it will only compound the financial crisis afflicting the sport if they undertake the process and, as is very possible, some or all clubs need to isolate due to positive tests. This could lead to a later curtailment of the league, with unnecessary illness (or worse) and cost.
The contrast with the SPFL is stark. The Scottish League took medical and legal advice and went on the front foot with a strong recommendation to clubs, which was overwhelmingly supported. These decisions are horrible and inevitably unfair on someone, but good leadership means you need to make yourself unpopular at times.
What happens with the English Premiership is largely immaterial to Scottish football. Our more immediate competitors occupy the leagues below. This is where Scottish clubs have lost most of their talent to. There will be opportunities for Scottish clubs as a consequence of how the two leagues reacted to the crisis. Keep your eye on what happens here.