Speaking on Sky Sports News, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has responded after being asked to predict when the Scottish game will be able to resume.

All professional and grassroots football in Scotland was halted in mid-March amid the global health crisis.

The Championship, League One and League Two campaigns were declared finished in April following a controversial SPFL ballot, while the Premiership season was ended on Monday.

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Doncaster has been at the centre of recent feuds between clubs and the SPFL

Doncaster has been at the centre of recent feuds between clubs and the SPFL. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

With all clubs agreeing that a restart wouldn’t be possible or financially viable for some months, the SPFL determined positions on a points per game basis, crowning Celtic champions in a decision that has angered many Rangers fans.

Doncaster says predictions are ‘very very dangerous’ but that it’s hoped the 2020/21 season will begin on schedule.

“Clearly, the more time it takes for us to get fans in stadia, the most damaging it’s going to be for the economics of the Scottish game,” he said on Sky Sports News. “We’re working with Jason Leitch, on behalf of the Scottish government, to try to find a way through the obstacles that are clearly in our path.”

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“We are one of many industries waiting to see how quickly the restrictions and the regulations can be relaxed and we can get back to having crowds in a safe environment.

“I think it’s very very dangerous to make any predictions at the moment. Our plans remain to start the season at the beginning of August and we’re looking to work with government to try and find a way through the crisis.”

Doncaster goes on to draw parallels with the English leagues and other industries across the UK who are also having to work in conjunction with the government ahead of returning to operations.

 

Verdict

Football fans the world over will have likely been encouraged by the return of the Bundesliga, with the German top-flight resuming fixtures behind closed doors last weekend.

Serie A, La Liga and the Premier League all hope to restart in June but it has been clear almost from the outset that no such ambitious attempts would be made in Scotland.

The ending of the Premiership season will have taken some of the pressure off the SPFL.

Yet, the onus is now on the governing bodies to come up with safety measures and innovative approaches that ensure behind closed door fixtures can be financially viable in Scotland. The football may be able to return in August, but full stands are a long way off.

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