We can confirm that Heart of Midlothian circulated today a paper to all 42 clubs in the SPFL asking for feedback and urgent action to address the situation Scottish Football finds itself in due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is clear that the situation is changing daily and decisions need to be made quickly to safeguard as many clubs as possible.
Flexibility and collaboration are of paramount importance to find a path to deal with this emergency situation. Included below is the foreword of the paper.
AMENDED STRUCTURE TO HELP SCOTTISH FOOTBALL SURVIVE THE EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
This document, at the most simple level, addresses two major issues, currently facing Scottish Football.
The widely accepted and much debated unfairness and unjustness of relegating Clubs as a result of the early termination of Season 2019/20.
- The need to implement a more flexible League structure to cope with the huge challenges facing Clubs of all sizes, as they fight to survive the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The proposed restructure involves moving to 3 enlarged Divisions, each of which would focus on tackling the specific and different challenges facing the larger, the medium and the smaller (often part-time) Clubs within Scottish Football.
With a growing awareness of what might be involved in getting back to playing football, so too is there a growing acceptance that not all Clubs may manage to play next season. The focus for many is turning to long-term survival.
If, unfortunately, some Clubs are unable to compete, there will be a greater likelihood that League competitions will still be able to continue, if these larger groupings are put in place, albeit not necessarily in the proposed format. We might end up with 14 teams in the Premiership, with 10 or 12 in the Championship, and with even fewer in League 1. Some are suggesting that we may end up with only 2 Divisions next season. However, every Club should have the option to make a choice.
There are broadly 3 scenarios facing Clubs for the coming season:
· Play games behind closed doors for as long as necessary to get the season underway
· Delay the start to the season until supporters are able to get back into stadiums
· Hibernate for a season until the emergency is over
It is not for me to suggest who should and who shouldn’t play football. It is for Clubs themselves to make that decision. For that reason, the suggested format assumes all 42 Clubs, structured in such a way as to allow each Division to decide what is best for them.
This is not about permanent reconstruction. It is about finding a path to deal with the emergency situation, which is likely to impact all member Clubs for the next 2 seasons. When we are through this emergency we can look then at how best to move forward to start to rebuild Scottish Football.