In the absence of government doing its bit, football must step up and John Swinney has expressed his support for Celtic’s suggestion that the winter break be brought forward a week to give fans the best possible opportunity to attend games.
Motherwell is the first club to openly support us, but it’s obvious that there are others who do and who have yet to stick their heads above the parapet. Are there enough to swing the issue? I would hope so.
Because otherwise hard questions need to be asked.
The SPFL has also taken the decision tonight to reject St Mirren’s call for a postponement of both our game and the one against the Ibrox club at the weekend.
I was glad that St Mirren made the effort to get the game on tomorrow, and I wrote already about how if they could put out a squad that they had to fulfil the fixture; this leaves a bad taste in the mouth though.
St Mirren are as good as saying they don’t have a side to put out.
If the SPFL doesn’t accept that and forces them to concede both matches that will be incredibly harsh. If there was ever a time for applying a little common sense and a little unity its now.
The whole game is a hostage to fortune.
Bringing forward the break doesn’t just protect sporting integrity and give the teams a chance to have fans at games, it gives us all a break from the endless game of virus roulette which every club is already playing.
What’s happening at St Mirren is going to happen elsewhere and elsewhere and elsewhere until it has happened everywhere, including at Celtic. I’m not saying that a circuit breaker will solve that, but we will have more answers and more clarity than we do right now.
Then we’ll be able to make a proper judgement on all this stuff. If we pretend that any bit of this is tenable and continue as we are for the next week and a half we’re doing the game here no favours at all. This is already a farce.
We now risk letting it becoming a disgrace.
Swinney and the Scottish Government have taken the path of least resistance here.
They’d made football fans the easy targets of a policy that will bring not one tangible benefit.
Aside from supporting Celtic’s call for the winter break to be introduced early, he talked utter nonsense about how the cup final could have been a super-spreader and how he wished it had been played behind closed doors.
For my own part, I am careful enough about this thing that I’d have watched it at home, but tens of thousands of others who were at Hampden would have gone to watch it in the pub and they would have started, in doing so, hundreds of new and different chains of transmission and that should be obvious to even the stupidest person in Scotland.
Government policy on this is all over the map.
None of it makes a bit of sense.
Epidemiology studies in the US have already revealed one of the places where most transmission takes place, and no elected official wants to acknowledge it for even a minute, but it’s a fact nonetheless.
Know where it is? It’s in schools.
The whole debate over schools centres on whether they are “safe” to open when the virus doesn’t affect kids, but pays no heed to how easily viruses spread amongst children, something every parent knows already.
Kids might not get sick with this one, but asymptomatic spread is still a major problem with this bug and there is no way to know how many kids have it and are spreading it unless we’re doing major testing and with kids not being an at-risk cohort we don’t.
But we do know that case numbers fall – dramatically – when schools are closed and that they rise quickly when they re-open again.
And if you think that’s crazy do as one of the scientists who identified this suggests and look at how schoolkids act around one another.
Their interactions are vastly more complex and widespread than anything that adults do.
As a consequence, I find it hard to take seriously any policy which explicitly rules out closing schools under any circumstances and still keeps open pubs whilst imposing curbs on football fans.
This whole thing is absurd. The whole policy is upside down.
And football fans are suffering for it.
Government will not protect the game; that much is now readily apparent.
The game must protect itself. During the last outbreak, the league voluntarily shut down before government was ready to make that call. The league must do the right thing here too.