As I’ve been saying for a couple of days now – in the face of the usual idiots trying to deny reality; and I repeat, their comments will never appear here – the new virus variant is set to sweep this country, and football has finally responded.
And of course, the governing bodies are all over the place.
Last night, Celtic found out the ghastly cost of a single case of the virus in our squad, with the SFA and the SPFL having given the guidance to the clubs. And that cost was set to be enormous.
A single case on a club team bus would send the entire bus into self-isolation.
Every single person, regardless of their vaccination status, regardless of negative PCR tests.
It seemed that football was adopting the “household rule” for the sport.
If it’s an Omicron case, every player was set to be considered a “household contact” and they’d have been isolating as well. It hardly needs to be pointed out how catastrophic that would be for any club with our schedule.
A ten-day isolation period would comfortably take in three games, perhaps even four. When would they be rescheduled? God alone knows, but you wouldn’t want to see us in that position, even if our games would be played after January with our injury issues behind us.
Yet this is a bullet I don’t see us dodging.
Even if you take every footballer to every ground by car – we have Ross County coming up soon, so that’s hardly practicable or something we’d want – players have to gather in the dressing room.
One positive case would, you’d presume, close the team down in just the same way.
There is no suggestion that teams would forfeit games for this; certainly it would be absolutely ridiculous to punish some sides and not others. Just because we could, technically, field a B team for a league game doesn’t mean that we should be forced to … that makes the regulations nothing more than survival of the unfittest.
No sooner had clubs braced themselves against this blow, but Jason Leitch went on the radio earlier today and flatly contradicted what the governing bodies had said.
According to Leitch, the rules for households would not be adopted by football at all. He suggested that they would be the exact same rules as exist for other industries; if you are a “close contact” a negative PCR test sends you back out on your way.
So what’s the proper advice? Who’s right and who’s wrong?
Celtic has to assume it’s the game’s governing body, but their rank incompetence is clear from the very fact that they don’t seem to understand what the government has said.
So this is already a shambles.
What if we get a positive test overnight?
Is that the game suspended tomorrow or do we have to just get negative tests for the rest of the squad?
Another wrinkle is that in order to be allowed to go on your way you need to be double vaccinated at the very least, in addition to turning in a negative PCR test … a recipe for chaos.
When I wrote about this earlier in the week, I pointed out that the information to clubs would have to be clear and unambiguous, so that everyone knew what everyone was doing.
This is not that. This is already a looming shit-show, which forces our club to seek clarification on clarification before putting measures in place. It is already a mess, but that is football governance in Scotland.
That is what our directors tolerate.