Date: 3rd April 2020 at 4:56pm
Written by:

I’ve been following every step and development in the global health crisis since it began, and over and over again I’m astounded at the ability of those who run our sports institutions to put the health and safety of all of us at risk by continuing to plan for major events which cannot possibly take place.

Yet things are better now than they were at the start.

Because even as this thing was ramping up and countries all over Europe were taking measures to try and stop this bug in its tracks, some folk were still living it large and pretending that they could stand amidst the flow of history and not be swept away.

When this crisis has definitively passed, someone is going to do a world class epidemiology study on it, and what they are going to present to people will horrify us.

In Italy, they’ve traced a major outbreak to a football match. Cheltenham is almost certainly partly responsible for a lot of the hot-spots dotted around London. And when people look to Scotland I expect something similar. And if truth be told, it could have been a lot worse.

We were playing games in this country long after that made any sense or was sane. I read the nonsense being talked by members of the government at the time with incredulity. That stadia were relatively safe? When this thing spreads by sneezes, coughs and breaths?

When it came remain alive and virulent on surfaces for hours?

Football stadia are a perfect environment for the spread of a highly communicable disease.

How can you even doubt it now when social distancing demands we stand 2 meters apart from each other in a supermarket? Whoever was “advising” the governments in Westminster and Holyrood during those early days, they had no idea what they were talking about.

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In the 1951/52 season, SFA chairman George Graham tried to stop Celtic from flying the Irish tricolour flag over Celtic Park, leading to a bitter stand off between him and the club. Which Scottish club backed Graham over his stance?

Now the UK government believes that a significant outbreak in Liverpool might have its roots in the Champions League match at Anfield against Atletico Madrid. It would not be a great surprise if there was a similar pattern in Scotland, linked to Sevco’s match against the Germans.

This should be one in the eye for UEFA and their daft insistence that this season can still be completed at some point.

But what makes this all the more jaw-dropping is that worse could have come.

Even as football all across the continent was coming to standstill, the government here in Scotland was still perfectly willing to allow a match at that same ground, whilst behind the scenes public health officials were screaming that it was lunacy.

Our match with Sevco was called off at the very last knockings, and it was called off because the players union lobbied the SPFL on the madness of playing any fixtures at all that weekend. They cited the danger to their members and got the shutdown enforced.

That decision has had huge ramifications for football, but it was certainly the correct one for the public good.

It has most probably saved a lot of lives.

We have ended up in the right place, but it took us an age to get here.

We have landed on the right square, but we were dangerously close to finding ourselves on the wrong one.

Football in Scotland is not more important than life or death; it danced on the line between them for a time though.

We can all be grateful that no real harm was done.

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.