The news overnight and today that a number of camps have come down with outbreaks – including a shocking one involving Croatia – has simply reinforced that concern. These matches are hazardous to players’ health.
I see the Scottish media is suddenly interested in the nature of this, now that an Ibrox player is on the list of footballers who might have been exposed; nice of our national title to offer support and concern all of a sudden, which they weren’t doing a month ago.
Still, everyone involved in Scottish football is correct to be worried right now because neither UEFA nor FIFA seems to care that different countries have different protocols in place and some associations don’t seem to be protecting their players right at all; for the second time in a row, the Israeli squad has had an outbreak of this, and it would be concerning to us if both of our players hadn’t already got this thing whilst on duty with them before.
Indeed, it remains a concern because we still don’t know – nobody does – whether you can catch this thing more than once, we don’t know how asymptomatic transmission really works, whether you can still spread it even if you’ve had … we could be exposing our entire squad to this thing because UEFA and FIFA are more concerned about their schedules than safety.
I know that we lash the SFA on this site, and they deserve it, but the more you look at how the global football community is all over the place on this, the more you realise that our association, in partnership with the Scottish Government, is one of the few that has gotten this almost entirely right from the standpoint of putting safety first.
No matter what the naysayers may claim, we shut football down completely and that was the right thing to do. We ended the season early, and that was the right thing to do. Football’s continuation in this country depends on strict protocols – some of the strictest anywhere in the sport – being rigorously adhered to, and that is the right thing to do.
I am not going to get into a big argument about the inconsistency here as regards what happened with Barisic today, where he doesn’t have to self-isolate after being on the bench in a game where a player got a positive diagnosis at half time in a match, or why Tierney was allowed to play and Christie wasn’t after the outbreak affecting Scotland … it makes no sense, and it makes no sense because each association and country has its own rules about this.
That’s the problem here, folks, and that’s why this has become dangerous for all concerned.
That’s why international football ought to be stopped until this thing is under control; it’s insanity for the game to be carrying on with entire countries in lockdown, and players travelling between them. It is ridiculous that football tries to fly in the face of this.
The Scottish press has finally got all worried because a certain club might be affected, but this issue has been concerning our club right from the start and the more you see of the utter shambles that UEFA and FIFA are making of it, the more you understand why.