Scottish FA Vice-President fears ‘total disaster’ of cancelling next season

GLASGOW (AFP) – Scottish Football Association (SFA) Vice-President Mike Mulraney said on Sunday he fears the governing body might face the “total disaster” scenario of cancelling the next domestic season due to the coronavirus.

The Scottish Professional Football League has abandoned the remainder of the current Championship, League One and League Two seasons after a lengthy and controversial process.

There is no decision yet on how to finish the rest of the 2019-20 Scottish Premiership campaign, but it would be no surprise if it is called off after the French and Dutch leagues were abandoned because of the pandemic.

Now Mulraney, who is also Chairman of second tier Alloa, says the SFA are planning for potential situations that include restricted fan access and a campaign behind closed doors – if the 2020-21 season can begin at all. And he warned it would be “foolhardy” not to face up to the possibility of Scottish clubs going out of business during the health crisis.

“We have run some pretty stark realities we think are real, meaningful and, if not probable, possible,” Mulraney told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound programme.

“We have three main visions we see we have to deal with as a club. One is a very restricted fanbase, which we think is a possibility.

“The second is how we would run a season without fans, and then it’s the total disaster scenario which we have to look at as a club, which is what if we can’t play football for another season?

“The last one is the one you have to look at because right now we can’t play football.”

On the prospect of playing without fans, Mulraney said, “It would be incredibly difficult, there’s no point pretending otherwise. We have run the numbers at Alloa and think we could probably do one season with no fans.

“Football is the fans but if it requires us to do something like this to ensure we have a football product at the end of it, we have to look at how we give media partners content.”

After SFA Chief Medical Officer Dr John MacLean admitted the game was likely to remain suspended until September or October, Mulraney added, “We have to give ourselves the best chance but I would not say I expect Alloa Athletic to be playing football in August or September.

“We need to create an environment where we give answers to the public, players, fans, staff and, critically, our government, to allow them to have confidence to restart football in Scotland.”