Three Weeks In

Last updated : 03 April 2020 By John Wilson

Motherwell’s match with Aberdeen should have kicked off three weeks ago.  Pity the folks struggling to plan for the future.

We can agree that the return of football is way down the priority list at the moment.  Finding an end to the suffering and control of the pandemic comes before everything.  There will come a time when players can return to the pitch but the way back is shrouded in a fog of uncertainty.


Before the advent of TV deals and major European competitions life was much simpler.  Scottish football could concentrate on managing its domestic affairs and pay little heed to the world outside.  There was a time when progress in the home league or the cups mattered more than the distraction of playing in foreign cities.  Home internationals provided enough exotic entertainment.

The explosion of commercialism has placed the game in a complex weave of interdependent interests.  National associations have very limited room for manoeuvre as they try to balance contractual risks and UEFA guidelines against local wishes.

The current impasse between the Belgian Pro League and UEFA makes the point.  Club Bruges are to be confirmed as champions with the league directors stating that it was not desirable, whatever the scenario envisaged, to continue the competition after 30 June.  Meanwhile European bosses have indicated their wish to finish current seasons by playing to an end in July and August.  They added the sting that “premature termination” might prevent access to Uefa club competitions.

South of the border a major concern is the flow of cash from broadcasters. Clubs are so dependent on the multimillion pound supply that they fear an implosion if cameras are unable to feed subscribers. 

The eventual exit from this worldwide crisis will come with an altered view of the way our lives are managed and there is no reason to exclude football from that review.  In the meantime let’s hope we get back on the grass