Things are most certainly kicking off in Scottish football.
While in England the policy of ‘wait and see’ has been holding fast for the moment, in Scotland there seems to be much more urgency to propose a resolution to this season of some description, should it become clear that the campaign can’t be completed in any sort of reasonable time frame.
The theory is that if the season is called off, prize money can then be released to clubs who might need those funds to keep going. So far, so logical.
A vote was held last week which proposed calling off all lower league football immediately, while also giving the Premiership the option to call the season should the prospect of football in any reasonable time frame be unrealistic.
However, while votes were submitted from 41 of the 42 clubs in the Premiership, Championship, League One and League Two, with enough votes for the resolution in the top and bottom two divisions to pass it. However, Dundee did not submit their vote amid some confusion, with just one yes vote required to pass the resolution.
Dundee had been expected to vote yes, but reports suggested over the weekend that they had a dramatic late change of heart.
To try making sense of the whole thing, BBC Scotland’s Kheredine Idessane joined the Totally Scottish Football Show this week.
“It certainly has been an extraordinary few days, even by the standards of Scottish football,” he said.
“Nobody, to the best of my knowledge, has heard from or spoken to Dundee since Friday – certainly not publicly. A number of clubs have been trying to get in touch with them, but they have gone away to consider their position and speak to certain people in authority in the game about what their options are. We’re in they extremely strange situation where they now hold the casting vote in all of this.
“Remember what we’re talking about is the ability for the Scottish Professional Football League to call the season immediately for all divisions below the Premiership and release prize money to those clubs, but also crucially to have the ability to call the Premiership if they see fit, if they see no realistic prospect of the season finishing in a certain timescale. That would of course give us the situation where Celtic would be crowned champions and Hearts would be relegated.
“There are massive issues at play here: there’s not a single club in Scottish football that this decision does not affect.”
What has been the reaction to Dundee’s apparent volte face among the other clubs, whose future depends on the outcome of this vote?
“The vast majority of clubs have voted in favour of this: it was 10-2 in the Premiership.
“In terms of the way this has been handled, we’ve seen statements from Rangers and Hearts criticising it, and Rangers have called for an independent review of all this, amid calls for the suspension of SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster. There are some extremely strong feelings expressed by certain clubs.
“There are some Championship clubs who thought Dundee were going to vote along with them, and are staggered by what has happened. We’ve had a gamut of reaction across the game, but one thing that is pretty much clear for a lot of clubs is that this is an extremely unsatisfactory situation where an incomplete vote has been made public.”
There is a board meeting of the SPFL on Tuesday which will hopefully clarify things. But it’s safe to say this: it’s a mess.
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