Hampden insider warns of 'potentially critical' situation facing Scottish football despite vote

By John McGinley

April 20, 2020

A Hampden source has warned The Daily Record that even starting next season behind closed doors presents a ‘potentially critical’ problem for Scottish football.

Clubs voted last week to bring a bit of clarity to the situation facing clubs, with 2019/20 football unlikely to resume anytime soon in the top-flight and the divisions below ended for the season.

Although Celtic and the rest can begin to plan for a long summer, there seems to be an increasing likelihood that even next season will be dramatically altered to accommodate the current public health crisis.

Football in Scotland is primarily funded by ticket money and fan support. Unfortunately, there is now a significant chance the start of next term takes place behind closed doors.

A Hampden source told The Daily Record: “The closed door proposal is the starting point of the UK government’s plans followed by three further steps to relax social distancing rules until we reach point no.5 – which is completely back to normal.

“So, yes, there is a possibility that the new season may have to begin behind closed doors and that’s the discussion we’re going to have to begin because it could have catastrophic consequences for our clubs in terms of the financial ramifications.

“If clubs can’t sell season tickets for the new campaign and have no match day revenue then it’s obviously a potentially critical situation.”

Right now, matches even returning behind closed doors anytime soon is in limbo after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government briefing on Monday.

As reported by BBC Scotland, she outlined reasons why it’s not as simple as letting sporting events proceed without a crowd, including the likelihood that fans would congregate to watch the fixtures away from stadiums.

When will Celtic Park be full again? / (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Although wage deferrals and wage cuts are likely across most squads in Scotland, that will become trickier to justify when matches are actually taking place.

It’s all leading to an almighty mess, ranking much higher in importance than recent statements calling for investigations into the SPFL and such.

Scottish football is in a position that calls for clubs pulling together, rather than dividing in rancour.

Hopefully, that message gets through to the most vocal complainers of the last few weeks.