Nobody could have predicted what has happened in 2020, but given how long it’s all being going on for, the SPFL have had time to do better than this…
After their fourth Covid-related incident, St Mirren are reportedly under investigation for possible breaches of regulations by the SPFL.
The problem with all of that being that, if they are found guilty, nobody knows what sort of sanction they will face. This is broadly because sanctions for these sort of breaches weren’t settled upon when football in Scotland returned.
And that feeds into a wider problem: that the SPFL simply weren’t as prepared as they could have been.
That was the opinion of Fin Marks, who joined The Totally Scottish Football Show this week to discuss the problems with Scottish football’s governance in the current crisis.
“Neil Doncaster and the SPFL don’t have a crystal ball, and nobody could have predicted the events of 2020. But this is the world we’ve been living in for eight months now: we’re in the midst of a pandemic that was always going to have an impact on playing squads and the whole country.
“The SPFL should have been on the front foot for once – they should’ve been proactive rather than reactive, which seems to be their default position on everything.
“They should have been much stronger, not just on the clubs but on the Scottish government: they’ve been very weak in dialoguing with the government, saying “it’s not our fault, look what the government are making us do.” I don’t think that’s good enough: I think this was a time that really called for leadership, and again they’ve been found wanting.”
It’s worth remembering that footballers – and indeed most people who work at football clubs – are operating under very stringent conditions, simply in order to get these games played behind closed doors.
Luckily our very own Laura Brannan works for one of those clubs: here’s what Covid life is like at Motherwell.
“You come in, you fill out a track and trace on arrival for your symptoms – or lack of symptoms – you get your temperature checked and you’re tested once a week. It was twice, now it’s once a week.
“We all wear masks around the club – indoors and outdoors, which was in place long before the government changed their regulations. Every room is limited based on the size of it. The boys themselves are split over three dressing rooms. On average you get six people to room, depending on the size.
“Breakfast is served by the chef and his staff rather than a buffet. Everyone sits at a designated table, which are two metres apart. Cutlery is set out for them.
“Team meetings have been moved to a bigger room. They travel to training in individual cars. They wear masks in the gym. They can socialise indoors but they must wear a mask – obviously that’s more relaxed outdoors.
“Above and beyond that, as opposed to ‘normal’ people in terms of the restrictions we all face, the players – at Motherwell anyway – are not allowed to sit in cafes or restaurants. It’s drive-throughs or takeaways only.
“Football is going above and beyond, and everything is very strict.”
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