SFA chief makes disappointing statement on fans returning to Scottish matches

By David Walton

August 16, 2020

SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell has provided Celtic and the rest of Scotland a blow with his update on fans returning to stadiums.

The SFA had as recently as last month been looking to pinpoint their upcoming Nations League clash with Israel as a “test event”.

The idea behind it was to gradually get fans back into Hampden Park in a bid to show the Scottish Government that football could be trusted to put the correct protocols in place (Sky Sports).

If that test event was to have been successful, many would’ve been calling for further events to be staged at the likes of Celtic Park and Ibrox.

With Scotland’s game against the Israelis set to take place on September 4, the return to stadiums for supporters was closing in.

Hampden stadium (Photo by Oliver Hardt – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

However, speaking in the Scottish Sun, Maxwell shared that he has been informed by UEFA that the idea will be KO’d.

“UEFA told us they were not going to permit any spectators at national matches across Europe in September. They will confirm that later this week, but it takes it out of our hands.

“They have their own reasons in terms of a commercial income and TV income for wanting these international games to be played. It is important we do what we can to make sure that is achieved.

“The September games should be OK as football across Europe is coming back. That gives us the confidence that the games can be played. UEFA has told us what is required as we have players coming from across the globe.”

Fan returns appear to be back off the agenda

The Scottish Government have been strict and hesitant regarding the current health pandemic restrictions ever since it became a real danger to the country.

Therefore, in order to be given the trust to get fans back, Scottish football had a duty to behave itself and make it as difficult as possible for the government to turn them down.

Even though the decision for the Scotland-Israel game has been rejected by UEFA, there was no guarantee it was getting by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her advisors in any case.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon / (Photo by Colin Fisher – Pool/Getty Images)

Recent events regarding the Aberdeen players and Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli won’t have helped.

The First Minister stated last week that football was being given a “yellow card”. Another breach of protocol and a red is on the horizon (Daily Record).

Whilst these incidents aren’t related directly to getting fans back into stadia, it doesn’t help the relationship between football and the government.

So much so that there’s hardly been a peep regarding that topic for some time. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before its back on the agenda – football without fans is nothing after all.

In other news, an update regarding Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli’s transfer situation.