Celtic attacker Ryan Christie has expressed genuine concern for rival SPFL clubs after football in Scotland was shutdown.
The SPFL and SFA released a joint statement on Friday effectively postponing the season until further notice. It comes after the recent global pandemic that has seen football across many countries around the world be put on hold.
However, there are real issues that come with that. Celtic, being the rich powerhouse that they are, can get through this situation fine. But it’s clubs lower down the rankings who rely on immediate gate revenue who could have real financial difficulty.
Speaking in the Scottish Sun, Christie admitted his own concern for these clubs, which includes the team that gave him his start in football – Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
“Absolutely (whether he’s concerned for the rest of the clubs). There are so many teams in Scotland that need the money coming through the gate every weekend to keep the books balanced. It doesn’t really help many teams in Scotland — but you have to put it into perspective.
“You would rather do that than put people’s lives in danger. Most of the time, with all these questions, you have to think of the bigger picture, especially when it comes to something as serious as this.”
No money forthcoming from the SPFL to help out
Last week before the postponements had been put in place, the SPFL stated that there were no reserves being kept to help clubs going through financial hardships (BBC).
As of yet, there is genuinely no solution for clubs who rely on gate money coming in. Like Christie says, it’s more often than not ticket sales that keep clubs afloat and keep their books balanced.
The Daily Record yesterday reported that football in Scotland could be off until August. Whether that is the case or not remains to be seen. However, what it would mean is that clubs would be going five months or so without any home games.
That’s a real concern for clubs in the lower end of the Scottish Premiership and indeed the Championship, League One, and League Two respectively. Even if games aren’t being played, these clubs still have plenty of money heading out the door.
Hopefully, we’ll know more about all of this in the coming week. As Christie says, it’s more important that people’s lives aren’t put in danger. Yet the existence of certain football clubs also can’t just be dismissed.
But with everything up in the air, you can bet a definitive answer on everything is still some way away.
How can clubs get through this period of uncertainty in your eyes? Is Christie right to be worried about the smaller teams? Give us your verdict in the discussion forum below.