Former Celtic hero Kris Commons has hit out at the idea football could return any time soon.
Leagues around Europe are mapping a way to get games resumed. The English Premier League is set for a crucial vote on Friday (8 May), which could see games played as soon as next month.
Scottish football, however, looks like heading down the road of postponement. The Scottish Championship, League One and League Two have already been ended. The SPFL also has the power to call the Premiership off but the current saga with Rangers’ “evidence” looks to have stalled that.
Commons clearly feels ending the season is the way to go. Speaking in the Scottish Daily Mail, the former attacker said he believes football can’t resume until there’s a vaccine for covid-19.
He said: “The bottom line is it’s impossible to guarantee the safety of players and their families right now. The only guarantee will come when scientists have produced a vaccine or cure.
“We can’t contemplate going back to playing football until there’s an effective drug available that can be given to all people of all ages that counters this virus.
“Right now, it is impossible to believe we’ll be back to any sort of normality in the next 12 to 18 months. Sport plays such a big role in society it is understandable so many are desperate for football to make a quick return so life starts to return to something approaching normality. But health and safety must take priority over football.”
Manchester City star’s concerns
Commons’ comments follow Manchester City superstar Sergio Aguero’s admission players were “scared” to return to football too early.
However, Commons’ view that football shouldn’t restart until a vaccine has been created could be optimistic. Dr David Nabarro, a professor at Imperial College London, has said there’s no certainty a vaccine will be created.
The best-case scenario could be we’re waiting 12 to 18 months for a vaccine to be rolled out. If football isn’t played within that time-frame, some football clubs in Scotland will certainly go to the wall. Scotland is unlikely to be the only country with casualties either.
You also have the economic benefits of football in Scotland. Academic research by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute reveals the SPFL contributes £214 million to Scotland’s economy annually and supports 6,000 jobs. Leagues around the world will have a similar effect on their nation’s economy.
Therefore, there will be real casualties if football stands still. Commons makes a valid point that health and safety come before football. However, we can’t sit and wait on a vaccine that may never come to pass.
There has to be a plan outside that train of thought. A plan that can make football as safe as possible when the virus has eased. It’s not impossible and the decision-makers at the SFA/SPFL certainly won’t be thinking that way either.
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