As the days roll steadily on, it becomes ever more clear that we’re not nearly at the end of the global health emergency, but closer to the beginning.
This thing has just started, but it is going to run and run and run. We are months – maybe many months – from normality.
But does that mean we have to be many months from football?
Television companies will film football wherever it is being played and in whatever circumstances.
Sky shows pre-season friendlies. They will show SPL games regardless of whether they are played on grass or astro-turf. If the goalposts were replaced by cabers and a plank of wood, Sky would show it if it drew a television audience.
They will show games without fans.
There are problems with getting footballers up to speed for games at the moment. Training is difficult when there are fears over the virus. Games, even closed doors matches, cannot go on whilst there are doubts, even the slightest doubts, about who has it and not.
But that might all be about to change.
Across the world, the medical community is working as never before, and not only on the vaccine that will change the game and put society back on track, or on the treatments that could make this a treatable illness that makes the survival rate 90% plus but on a better class of test.
Now, testing kits are available on the open market already, but their accuracy is suspect and many of them are hugely expensive. A publicly signed off test, something mass produced, which can deliver results in a few hours, is precisely what we need.
If testing can be done and the results brought back swiftly, players and staff can approach matches with a degree of comfort that does not exist at the moment. It could open up the possibility of us seeing professional football restored even before the country itself is properly back on its feet.
It would be weird, but no wonder than this.
The possibility exists. The PFA would have to sign off. Insurers would need to be okay with it.
The logistics of it would need to be worked out exactly; testing seven days out, then four days out, then the day before games, and further tests right after … it could give players and staff the level of confidence that they don’t currently have.
Nobody wants to put footballers in danger, but an accurate test with can deliver swift results, whether persons are symptomatic or not will change the nature of this debate and not just in the context of football.
The medical profession is crying out for it. Community organisations are crying out for it. A mass testing system would give us a chance to quarantine people who don’t even have symptoms, and that would give us a shot not only of containing this thing but of driving from it from our shores entirely.
But we write about football here and this is a possible solution for our sport.
A simple test like this is definitely coming … it is a possible solution for Celtic, to get games played again even if, for the time being, fans are not able to take their own places in the stands.
We would all take that right now.
It would be a Good Result.
As Scottish football goes through the current crisis it is important to keep up with developments and the key issues. We are determined to do so, and to keep you informed as well. Please subscribe to the blog.