The SPFL have formally written to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pleading for the Scottish Government to end the country’s fan shutout.
As things stand, Highland neighbours Ross County and Inverness Caley Thistle are the only two clubs nationwide who are allowed a small number of spectators through their gates, but league chief Neil Doncaster has asked Ms Sturgeon to “do the right thing” and help the other forty.
The statement itself was announced shortly after Sturgeon’s UK counterpart, Boris Johnson, gave the go-ahead to get English fans back into grounds, leaving league bosses pondering the difference between their situation and ourselves.
Doncaster said: “Every major club in Scotland has very detailed, well-founded plans in place for safely returning fans back to stadiums, and thousands upon thousands of Scottish fans are simply desperate to get back quickly to watching their teams in the safety of a carefully-managed, open-air environment.”
“We are now calling on the First Minister to do the right thing by Scotland’s hard-pressed football supporters. If it’s good enough for English fans, it must be good enough for Scottish fans.”
“If the First Minister refuses to allow football fans all over Scotland to watch their beloved teams in carefully-regulated, limited numbers, complete with track and trace, she will have to explain to them the clinical difference between Scottish fans and English fans.”
Several Scottish clubs, including Celtic, Aberdeen and Dundee United, have already expressed their support for talks to take place, with many teams feeling the harsh reality of being without their primary revenue source.
Scottish football badly needs this nightmare to end, and fast, Doncaster backed this up by saying:
“Make no mistake, failure to get fans back in the very near future will sound the death knell for some of our best-loved clubs and no-one wants that.
“The First Minister alone has the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of Scottish football fans and give them a much-needed early Christmas present and we are calling for meaningful, urgent engagement.
“Despite the enormous financial consequences, our clubs have followed every directive and every instruction from the Scottish Government for month after month. Clubs, supporters and players have been hugely patient. Apart from supporter safety, there is no higher priority for our game. It’s now time to get the fans back.
“We have written to the First Minister seeking an emergency meeting, because time is really against us. We will meet with her at any time, day or night, to fit in with her busy schedule and we await her response.
“The clubs have done the hard work of putting their plans in place for the safe return of fans in limited numbers. All we need now is for the First Minister to say ‘Yes’.”
The First Minster was quick to respond, telling Doncaster and Co they had to consider wider aspects of society than just football.
She said: “However much Neil Doncaster, for reasons I understand, is only looking at football, we can’t see any sector or any part of society in isolation because there is only so much we can do overall to keep the virus under control.”
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