At the time of writing this, the farce continues. At the time of writing this Scotland is still expected to fly out to the Czech Republic today to take part in a match tomorrow night which should already have been voided or postponed.
The match has become a freak show affair, with the home side having re-selected their entire squad, only two of whom have ever been capped before. The difficulties inherent in rescheduling the game are obvious, but a way should have been found and that action taken, because for the match to go ahead in this fashion is absolutely absurd.
Yet as obvious as that is, even the manifest ridiculousness of it should be a secondary consideration next to the obvious risks involved in it. Ian Maxwell said last night that clubs have already contacted him expressing their concern; they should have done a lot more than that. The SFA should have never have agreed to playing the match.
Our footballers should certainly not be made to fly out for it.
Maxwell says that no club got to the stage of pulling out players, after he and the governing body assured them that their medical team would liaise with the Czech’s to make the environment as safe as is practicable; I don’t know why that doesn’t fill me with confidence?
Most of us don’t trust these people to run their own affairs; why should we believe they are capable of forcing others to do what’s right? Would you trust an SFA official with your safety or the safety of your family? Who do the clubs trust them with their players?
Understand that I’m not suggesting that the Czech training camp is an unsafe environment, although I don’t think anyone can guarantee that it’s a virus free one either. I’m saying that if it is unsafe I don’t trust the SFA to recognise that or to act appropriately if they do.
This isn’t about having a lack of faith in our opponents, it’s about having none in UEFA or the SFA.
This game should have been called off. Scotland could have cancelled one of its pointless international friendlies and fitted this game in. I can’t help but feel our decision not to oppose it going ahead is wholly cynical instead of being concerned with safety.
We’re the visitors. At some point, UEFA will have asked our association if they feel comfortable playing the game, and at that point they should have said no. But that would have involved the SFA being at least consistent in its approach, wherein they cancelled Celtic and Aberdeen’s games and neither club, don’t forget, had a single player who tested positive.
I cannot understand, for the life of me, why Celtic was not deemed capable of playing games when we had a clean bill of health but the Czech Republic can be allowed to offer vague assurances to the same organisation who cancelled our fixtures, when there has been an outbreak in their squad, and the SFA simply accepts that and agrees to play the match.
This whole thing stinks to high heaven and if any member of the Scotland squad tests positive for this as a result of making this trip, and every member of the team ends up in quarantine, I hope our club and others sue the governing body and demand resignations and sackings as the price for allowing it.
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