UEFA have indicated they are willing to allow top-flight Scottish matches to go ahead even when Champions League matches are occurring elsewhere on the continent, FourFourTwo reports.
Article 3.8 of the governing body’s Memorandum of Understanding calls for domestic leagues to avoid scheduling matches on nights when UEFA club competitions also take place.
However, “postponement due to force majeure or to other reasons beyond the reasonable control of the concerned league” is set out in Article 3.9 as a valid reason for member associations to apply for matches to go ahead on these evenings.
As quoted by FourFourTwo, a UEFA statement was sent out yesterday which said: “UEFA and the European Leagues have an excellent co-operation, based on their Memorandum of Understanding.
“We work with them and national associations to avoid clashes between domestic and European fixtures. This co-operation is even closer in the difficult situation we are experiencing this year and all (examples of) calendar hardship are analysed on a case-by-case basis.”
It comes after SPFL secretary Iain Blair, responsible for the organisation of matches, released a statement setting out the pressures facing Scottish clubs next season.
A statement released on the league body’s official website said: “With 37 of the 71 dates therefore ruled out, that leaves us a maximum of 34 fixture dates to fit in the required 33 rounds of pre-split SPFL matches. It is already incredibly tight, and that is before we consider how many games we will inevitably lose to bad winter weather, Scottish Cup replays and further potential postponements caused by Covid-19.
“There is a very real risk that several SPFL teams will be forced to play four matches in eight days – and perhaps more than once – which would be a nightmare for players and fans alike.”
It now seems some clubs may be able to play on some of the 16 dates set aside for European matches, potentially lessening the load for Celtic and other clubs in the top-flight.
Celtic will be hoping to play on as many Champions League nights as possible but even if UEFA’s commitment to co-operation results in one or two nights being freed up for Hoops action it could be the difference when trying to prevent severe congestion.
It will also allow other teams not taking part in European games to face off and free up other dates to line up against the Scottish champions.
Hopefully common sense prevails and Neil Lennon’s Bhoys are not forced into situations that will see them play many matches in an eight-day period.