SPFL and Scottish FA respond after important new UEFA update

By John McGinley

April 23, 2020

The Scottish FA and SPFL Joint Response Group tasked with considering the ongoing public health crisis have responded to the outcomes of UEFA’s video conference between member countries today, The Scottish Sun report.

The continental governing body appear to have given the green light to smaller nations terminating their domestic leagues on the basis on sporting merit, as long as every effort is taken to complete the schedule of fixtures.

UEFA will not stand in the way of qualification to next season’s Europa League and Champions League competitions if that can be demonstrated.

In a statement, they said: “As a result of representations made by the football authorities in Belgium and Scotland, the Committee recognises the issues raised and approved the Guidelines on eligibility principles for 2020/21 UEFA club competitions. The Guidelines reflect the principle that admission to UEFA club competitions is always based on sporting merit.”

You can read the full set of guidelines on the official UEFA website.

A spokesperson for the Joint Response Group said in response to the statement, as quoted by The Scottish Sun: “The coronavirus outbreak is affecting leagues across Europe in many different ways depending, amongst other things, on their financial position, their broadcasting deals and the percentage of their clubs’ income derived from gate receipts.

“In addition, the approach from individual governments varies according to the severity and timing of the lockdown and their success in dealing with the outbreak.

“As a result, there can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the challenges facing the 55 countries under the Uefa banner.

“Today’s Uefa announcement acknowledges that different leagues will have to carefully consider their own unique circumstances before deciding how best to progress.”

To me, it doesn’t sound like any decision to call time on the Scottish Premiership is imminent.

It seems likely there will now be a period of investigation to find out the feasibility of action restarting, taking into account government and expert advice.

Big decisions are set to be made by Hampden officials / (Photo by David Goddard/Getty Images)

That’s something Aberdeen called for yesterday after writing a letter to every club in the top-flight.

This suits Celtic as the club has made it clear that the preference is to resume action if possible.

Increasingly that looks like it would be on a behind-closed-doors basis, if at all.

At least we have a bit of clarity now that if the 2019/20 cannot resume, UEFA will back the SPFL’s desire to end the season on an average points basis, as was voted by 81% of member clubs.