BBC Sportsound presenter wants Scottish Government answers after Celtic game decision

By John McGinley

October 24, 2020

BBC Sportsound’s Richard Gordon wants answers from the Scottish Government about their decision to not allow a limited number of fans into tomorrow’s Aberdeen vs Celtic clash, writing in his Press & Journal column today.

As we discussed earlier this week, Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack had requested 1,000 fans be let in for the encounter as a test event after a successful pilot game last month.

However, the Pittodrie side were left frustrated by a ‘polite’ response from the Scottish Government.

The Dons-supporting Gordon has been left confused by it all, believing that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon or her National Clinical Director Jason Leitch need to give better reasons for the knockback.

He cites the example of planes full of people being deemed safer to run than allowing socially distanced supporters in an outside stadium.

Writing in the Press & Journal, he explained: “I have been less strident than others regarding this, trying to accept that the government has far more pressing concerns to deal with as the pandemic continues to scar the nation, but the time has come for someone in power to finally spell out why football supporters are being treated in this way.

“Simply repeating the mantra that choices have to be made and that not everyone can get what they want is no longer acceptable.

“Is it really too much to ask the First Minister or the National Clinical Director Jason Leitch to tell us why this decision has been taken, and explain the scientific evidence behind it? If they do so, it will at least allow us to move on fully informed.

“But perhaps that’s the crux of the matter, that they cannot clear things up as there is no real rationale to keep a limited number of fans out, other than that the Government says so; move along, be quiet, nothing to see here.”

In many ways, you can see why there is frustration given the lack of transparency.

Gordon has always seemed like a balanced broadcaster to me, despite never hiding his Aberdeen leanings, so if he is unhappy, then many others will be too.

However, the issue is not quite as clear cut as being portrayed by some.

As Professor Leitch explained live on BBC Radio Scotland today (Off The Ball), fans don’t just appear in stadiums from nowhere.

There are public transport, travel and policing factors to consider when deciding on football.

Pittodrie Stadium / (Photo by Scott Baxter/Getty Images)

Unfortunately with cases rising in the country and new public health tiers being announced, crowds at games feel as far away as ever.

In my opinion, we’ll be lucky to get supporters through the door en masse this season. It’s no-one’s fault.

In other news, Celtic prospect Jonathan Afolabi has impressed out on loan today at Dundee.