Football fans are often treated like dirt by those in authority. This isn’t exactly news.
Whether it’s having our games shuffled around to accommodate TV or the passage of laws that no other sports fans would have to endure, there’s nothing unusual about this.
Fans have a right to certain information though, and this is part of why Celtic is quite correct to ask that the SPFL publish their fixture list for the coming season in as timely a manner as possible. Fans have been asked to accept enough nonsense these past few weeks and months, and we face a long period when we might not even be allowed inside grounds.
But we’re entitled to know who our teams play and roughly when.
The players are entitled to know the same thing. This is why the club is making the demand.
They know that there’s talk within Hampden of moving all four of the Sevco games to after New Year, when there might be a chance to play them in front of full houses.
Celtic may or may not support that suggestion, depending on if we think there’s a need for it.
Germany recently hosted the Dortmund-Bayern game without fans, so the idea that Scottish football will suffer if games against Sevco are played behind closed doors is ridiculous.
I suspect we are concerned about this because based on past precedent we’d be at Celtic Park first … we shouldn’t have to be, as the last game was meant to be at Ibrox and it was called off. But the SPFL computer does odd things … and this is likely to be one of them.
I imagine that Sevconia would be a little bit upset if we had to play in front of empty stands there.
Celtic will be just as wary of that outcome.
But there are obvious problems with moving these games further up the calender.
I don’t imagine the police will be terribly happy knowing they might have to handle a few of these games in close proximity after the lockdown is eased enough for fans to return to games. If the fixture list is published quickly – as it should be – there will be no time or room for the SPL or anyone else to try and fudge the issue.
Let the health authorities dictate when crowds can watch games.
We must be able to scrutinise the fixture list for any suggestion that it advantages teams; let’s see, for example, if clubs get an equal number of home and away games whilst the fans are not present. Anything else would be akin not only to giving a sporting advantage but a financial leg-up too.
In the current crisis there are so many ways that the fixture list can be bent to favour certain clubs; Celtic is fully entitled to ask that it be published soon, and our fans deserve full disclosure. Anything else would be disgraceful.
The fight for ten in a row starts with things like this.
We cannot take our eyes off the ball for one minute here. Scrutiny is more important than ever.
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