Scottish Supporters Network

Hosted by Supporters Direct Scotland

Strengthening Scottish Football
SDS Logo

Scottish Football Needs To Plan For Covid-19

Date: 11th March 2020

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”

While I admire that Bill Shankly quote, it’s not actually true. Some things happen in the world that puts football into perspective. 

Currently the Covid-19 coronavirus has ran roughshod over the whole planet and it’s starting to take hold of our football calendar too. 

Leagues in Europe have been suspended, huge games have been held behind closed doors in empty stadiums and players have been told not to shake hands. 

In England tonight’s Premier League game between Arsenal and Manchester City has been cancelled as a precautionary measure. 

The virus hasn’t had the same huge impact in Scotland as it has in say Italy but that doesn’t mean our governing body and our clubs shouldn’t be planning for it and acting now. Only a few weeks ago Italy were getting similar cases to the numbers we are getting in the UK now, then the Covid-19 really took hold and they saw a massive spike in cases. 

It’s important that fans and clubs don’t lose their head with what might happen. 

If we need to suspend our own leagues due to medical advice, then we all have to be grown ups about it and accept that decision.  

Scottish football can always be used to lead the way in our society, sometimes it does so and other times it lets us down. In this case it needs to be sensible and remain positive. 

Parts of our society are already losing the plot as people steal hand sanitiser from hospitals and load up on countless toilet rolls. I think it’s important that Scottish football and it’s community remain calm through this potential crisis! 

Clubs should be doing their upmost to spread the message and a lot are doing just that. They’re communicating with their support and that dialogue needs to continue throughout. They need to make sure that they can offer hot water and hand sanitiser. If the league needs to be suspended, then every team needs to support that call! 

The larger clubs, The SFA and the top leagues will need to look at ways in helping the smaller, poorer clubs. If that means helping out by providing funds, resources or the like then so be it. If we have to call the season to a premature end, then I’d like to see the Scottish Premiership teams providing teams to play a few domestic friendlies against lower league sides in Scotland whenever preseason starts. 

Football fans also need to do their bit! 

I know big games are coming up domestically, in Europe and with the international team and people won’t want to miss them. But I urge anyone feeling unwell to think of others and give those games a miss. If you’re elderly or have an illness that sees you at a greater risk of the virus then it may be better that you take the decision not to go to the game. It might be better for you to be cautious when it comes to such events. 

Supporters should also respect government protocols. Cough/sneeze into tissues before disposing of those tissues appropriately. I would suggest that fans also refrain from shaking hands with fellow spectators and celebrating by jumping on top of each other (easier said than done). 

We should maybe look at our small community clubs and think about setting up funds to help them if fixtures get cancelled. It could be good for fans to still pay for tickets even if those games aren’t on. I get that fans may also be worrying about their own finances but if they can afford a few pounds to help their team then I think that could help vulnerable clubs.

I really hope Scotland misses the worst of this virus and it’s impact on Scottish football is minimal but we have to plan now and we need to support each other at this time. 

Football can show society that even if we can’t be together in the stadium, we can still come together and lead the way in our society by being sensible during the toughest of circumstances. 

Although while games are still taking place, then please enjoy them! 

Posted in: Latest News