SPL clubs to be consulted over season end if Covid-19 forces shutdown

Scottish Premiership clubs will be consulted over how to end the season if Covid-19 forces another shutdown as positive tests spark fresh fears

  • A spate of positive tests in Scottish football have ramped up tension in the SPFL
  • Stuart Armstrong and Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard both tested positive 
  • Last season was ended early and final games scrapped due to the coronavirus  
  • To avoid more legal battles, clubs will be consulted if this season is threatened

Scottish Premiership clubs have been asked to help league chiefs resolve the fate of the season if it’s cut short by coronavirus.

Scottish football was scarred by a summer of bitter legal wrangles between clubs after a controversial vote to curtail last season ended with Celtic named champions and Hearts and Partick Thistle relegated. 

And a spate of positive player test results in recent weeks has sparked fears of a new civil war.

Last season’s Scottish Premiership finished early, with a bitter legal battle ensuing afterwards 

The title ended up at Parkhead after the season was wound-up amid the coronavirus shutdown

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster and SFA Vice president Mike Mulraney addressed a virtual meeting of top flight clubs yesterday.

And Sportsmail understands clubs from all four leagues will be consulted in a quest to try to find a consensus on what should happen if the season can’t be finished.

In July clubs rejected a resolution seeking to let the SPFL board decide the fate of the campaign if covid-19 returned with a vengeance.

However, recent positive test results for Scotland midfielder Stuart Armstrong, Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard and players from Kilmarnock, St Mirren and Hamilton have once again cast the matter into sharp focus.

New positive tests in the league have worried bosses who want to plan for another shutdown

A second, heavily reworded resolution asking the 42 senior clubs to reconsider their opposition to the SPFL board being granted discretionary power is under consideration.

Another option is a set of proposals to adopt a pre-determined course if the league has to end after set numbers of fixtures.

Last night, however, a league source told Sportsmail that strong doubts exist over the ability of the SPFL to persuade clubs to agree to one plan and stick to it.

‘Right now we are trying to divine the will of the clubs and make that happen. But there is not a complete consensus in the Premiership and it’s hard to be confident of gaining a necessary 75% majority in every division.

‘The process of speaking to people is underway and that began with the Premiership clubs. There is a consensus something needs to be done but no consensus as to what that is.’

Celtic star Odsonne Edouard is among the Scottish Premiership stars to have tested positive

Stenhousmuir chairman Iain McMenemy, meanwhile, has defended the decision of lower league clubs to hold crisis talks with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross over a catastrophic loss of gate income.

Some lower league clubs risk running out of cash within weeks and Ross has now proposed a fans’ fighting fund following discussions with a number of clubs, including Hearts

A senior assistant referee employed by the Scottish FA Ross has been accused of a conflict of interest by getting involved.

Defending the decision to politicise the plight of Scottish clubs McMenemy told Sportsmail:

The obstacle facing Scottish football chiefs is to get a majority of their clubs on the same page

‘If any politician wants to help Scottish football then now is the time to talk to them. I don’t care what the colour of their rosette is.

‘The future of Scottish football clubs is probably the most uncertain it has ever been and I would ask all politicians to engage with clubs to do what they can to help.

‘I don’t buy the conflict of interest accusation levelled at Douglas Ross.

‘I am not trying to diminish his role, but he comes and officiates on games by the rules.

‘He is not not involved in anything concerning finances or the future of Scottish football or anything of that ilk. I see no conflict of interest whatsoever.’

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