Ten Scottish Premiership clubs want to bring next month’s winter break forward, according to a report, as clubs look to avoid a way of playing in front of empty stadiums again as a result of new restrictions coming into force in the SPFL from Boxing Day.
According to the Scottish Sun, only Rangers and Ross County are opposing moving the winter break forward and rearranging the final rounds fixtures before the break for later in 2022.
As well as the Boxing Day and New Year fixtures, there are also a couple of games taking place tonight as teams catch up on postponements ahead of a three-weak break and the chance for the players to recharge their batteries.
Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows thinks fans need to look at the financial implications for Premiership clubs if they have to play in front of just 500 fans at one of the busiest periods of the calendar for football, tweeting: “Covid-19 is not going away and we must find ways to slow the spread. But today’s announcement and the restriction to just 500 is incredibly frustrating.
“Most pertinently, it is a serious blow for fans who have been through so much and rely on football as a method of supporting themselves mentally with some normality and release. It is also a difficult situation for the clubs themselves who have had such a torrid time trying to keep their head above the water.
“Restrictions to this level are, ironically, worse than a full lock out as you retain a significant element of your cost base and have virtually no means to commercialise the event.
“You also have the huge issue of trying to select 500 fans from a highly engaged pool of people who are all desperate to attend. Fan versus fan, how do you make that fair? We should start the winter break now, and rearrange these matches when all fans have a chance to attend at a later date when hopefully restrictions are eased.
“That way we increase the likelihood (from zero, currently) that fans can watch the gives live, all matches are played under the same parameters and clubs can commercialise the fixtures in line with current budgets. During that time, we put our facilities and platform at the disposal of the local health authorities to ensure as many booster vaccinations can be administered as possible.”
However, the ball very much lies in the court of broadcaster Sky Sports, who are due to show four live games over the festive period between Boxing Day and January 3 – with Amazon Prime having a full slate of Premier League games between Christmas and Hogmanay.
The Premiership break is due to start after the fixtures at New Year before returning at the end of January – with clubs taking part in the Scottish Cup a week earlier.
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