Scottish FA release statement on planning phase for return of football; 4 Celtic staff part of talks

By John McGinley

April 28, 2020

The Scottish FA have released a statement on the initial planning phase for the resumption of football, via the governing body’s official website.

A total of six sub-groups have been set-up within the overall Joint Response Group looking at the following issues: Medical and Player Welfare, Club and Stadium Operations, Supporter Welfare, Broadcasting and Innovation, Regulation and Grassroots.

Each group has been assigned a rolling two-week update period in which to undertake research in order of priorities.

Four Celtic officials will take part in the discussions.

Head of Medical Services Tim Williamson will be part of the medical and player welfare group while Commercial Director Adrian Filby will work with nine others to look into supporter welfare. Filby will also take part in discussions around stadium operations.

Head of Marketing and Multimedia Kerry Keenan has been tasked with advising on broadcasting and innovation, alongside other club officials such as Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack.

Finally, Director of Football and Legal Affairs Michael Nicolson will be on hand to take part in discussions on regulation.

Strategic Football Lead for the Scottish Government David Hamilton will sit on five of the six sub-groups.

Rod Petrie, Scottish FA President and Chair of the Joint Response Group, said: “We will continue to adhere to the government advice but equally we have an obligation to undertake the necessary preparatory work to ensure the national game is ready to return at the appropriate time.

“We are also mindful of the crucial role football can play as the national sport during the recovery period and have noted the proposed return of the Premier League in England by the Department of Culture Media and Sport in England ‘to raise the spirit of the nation’.

“We look forward to the opportunity to discuss football’s timeframe in Scotland in early course as part of the Scottish Government’s virtual roundtable for sporting bodies announced by the First Minister today.”

Hampden Stadium / (Photo by David Goddard/Getty Images)

With important issues such as player contracts and virtual season tickets as well as safety and testing up for discussion, these groups are now crucially important in delivering the return of Scottish football.

It’s through these meetings that ideas will be discussed to ensure that clubs are able to navigate the current crisis, even if football has to be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future.

Celtic and others must come together and work for the common good, rather than indulge in the drama we’ve seen from some surrounding the SPFL’s handling of the issue.