Times are extremely difficult in the world of soccer globally at the moment. Clubs are beginning to look at the completion of currently postponed fixtures and weighing their options against what medical advice is being handed to them daily.
The completion of fixtures in all four tiers of the Scottish Professional Football League seems to be in jeopardy as the SPFL sent a written resolution to all 42 of it’s member clubs to be voted on by the end of the week.
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The resolutions calls for all clubs to vote on the forfeiture of all remaining fixtures at the Ladbrokes Championship, League One and League two levels. The proposed resolution is the league’s attempt to come to some kind of agreeable closure given the current uncertainties placing soccer and other sporting competitions on hold globally.
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The SPFL calls for clubs to vote in favor of the resolution that outlines the following:
- The immediate termination of Season 2019/20 for the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2, without the remaining fixtures in the League being played
- all play-off competitions being cancelled
- Final season placings to be determined by the number of points per game earned by each club in the matches they have played.
The resolution was sent to clubs today with a voting deadline of 17:00 BST or 12:00 PM EST on Friday April 10th. An all in favor ruling only requires 75% of the teams in each tier to agree to the terms for approval. If approved the current standings will be treated as final, effectively promoting Dundee United, Raith Rovers and the Cove Rangers while relegating Partick Thistle and Stanraer.
This request is certainly a difficult one to request of clubs who are currently experiencing financial difficulties in the absence of match day income. Clubs like Rangers have had players and coaching staff alike take salary deferrals in order to pay other employees in the organization. While others in all tiers of Scottish football have placed staff on Government furloughs to cope. Though, at the end of the day officials need to take a look at the situation and decide if the completion of these fixtures at a later date is worth possibly interfering with scheduling of the 2020-2021 season.
The forfeiture of the Premiership’s season is a bit more difficult to navigate given UEFA’s role and current position on the completion of remaining fixtures. UEFA insists leagues in Europe finish their seasons and threaten the inability to participate in European competitions next year if they do not. This comes amid the decision by the Belgian top flight Jupiler Pro League officially concluding their season this past week by declaring their current standings final.
Thus awarding Club Brugge the Championship, finishing 15 points a head of second place Gent. UEFA has argued that competition will resume in July or August with Champions league fixtures to resume soon after. So to prematurely call an end to seasons domestically is jumping the gun. But that may be cutting it too close for some leagues around the continent, the SPFL being one of them.
The Premiership’s future is up in the air, but if concluded before any further matches can be played, Celtic would be crowned champions. Though if it is determined that games cannot be played, the result would be decided based on points won per match. Rangers’ Glasgow rival currently sits 13 points ahead of the light blues in the standings. April 23rd is the newly proposed deadline in which the Premiership’s future should be determined.
That 75% per tier approval rate may be hard to come by as many clubs have publicly voiced their opposition to any sort of premature conclusion to the season. Most of those teams are at the bottom of their respective standings and are voicing their opposition to being relegated without a chance to play their way out of the cellar of their leagues.
Rangers have also very publicly opposed any sort of forfeiture or conceding of the championship to Celtic. Though the Rangers aren’t immune to the struggles that come with the current financial climate. And though we can probably assume their vote would be in opposition of the proposed resolution, they have also recently called for the SPFL to award the prize money associated with the league title early. But doing so in order to distribute it among clubs struggling to stay afloat.
It’s a tough notion to grasp as in the name of sport and competition, we would all love to see games continue and finish properly. But at some point plans need to be made to lessen the impending financial blow clubs at all levels will endure and maybe consider naming champions with an asterisk to avoid further serious medical consequences in the process.