Michael Stewart clashes with PFA Scotland rep on radio

By John McGinley

March 22, 2020

BBC Scotland pundit Michael Stewart has clashed with PFA Scotland Chief Executive Fraser Wishart about the organisation’s intent to contact senior players in Scotland over the coming week.

Wishart plans to hold conference call talks with some well-known players about the ongoing health crisis and what it means for their wellbeing and livelihoods.

Stewart meanwhile was keen to get to the bottom of whether the union’s work will benefit all players in the country or just members.

Wishart dodged the question, leading to a tense exchange between the duo about who will be protected by PFA Scotland’s work.

Speaking on BBC Sportsound (21/03, 14:15), Stewart said: “At this moment in time I see huge importance of where the union is as a body and that is what I am going to try to get across.

“Are you going to look after all the players or are you going to look after the members, and trying to pass on that message to say ‘look come on board, join the union, here are the benefits of what we can do.”

Wishart would reply: “What I am saying is that I’m just baffled that out of all the questions and things that are going on that you have gone back to this three times.  There’s peoples jobs at stake here.”

Stewart however would not let the issue go, stating: “Sorry Fraser no, that is the point I am trying to make.

“I was on the management committee before so I understand these things. What are you saying to the players who are out there.

“You are laughing and you are sniggering and saying why am I asking these questions which I find quite offensive.”

Wishart would eventually confirm: “I will speak to the management committee and we will have that conversation. The e-mail goes to our members. If a non-member comes and asks for our help, we will look at it on a case by case basis.”

What’s on the cards for Celtic players? / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Stewart was his usual unrelenting self on the programme but clearly wants to simply understand how the process is going to work moving forward, with so much uncertainty already circulating around Scottish football.

It’s important that players up and down the divisions, including Celtic stars, know exactly what their rights are and what support is available during a complicated time both in terms of health and earning a living.

This is especially true for those who may be bringing in less income at lower status and lower division teams.

Clubs have a duty to protect their players as much as possible over the coming months, whether that involves training, paying them or asking them to return to action behind closed doors.

Hopefully, we hear how Celtic plan to handle it all as soon as they are able to update supporters.