Suspension Of BeliefDate: Saturday, 16th Jan 2021
Back in the 1990s I used to enjoy the classic BBC Comedy Series "Yes Prime Minister". It was not only an award winning comedy but educated many of us in Politics.
PM Jim Hacker was forever adept at covering up a controversial topic by giving publicity to something juicy which the tabloids would feast on. These were set up for him by Civil Servant Sir Humphrey. It is a technique utilised today. On the grim day of 09/11 a number of bad news items were hushed up.
I was reminded of this today seeing the considerable coverage the Scottish Championship is receiving over the request from John Robertson, Inverness CT Manager, ( though not formally endorsed by his club), that our Season be suspended. Ian Maxwell also receives favourable publicity over Kilmarnock and St Mirren winning their appeals against defeats handed down for breaches of Covid19 regulations.
The SFA Judicial Panel overturned the walkover wins given to Motherwell and Hamilton Accies. A cynic would say that the SFA would like a certain other more controversial topic put on the back burner.
The SFA Chief Executive has asked if the ten Championship Clubs would like to pause the season in much the way Leagues 1 and 2 and others have done. They are to reply by Monday.
The Championship clubs, who have benefited from the generous £500k funding, have carried on with a much more comprehensive and costly testing regime. Hearts have put the cost of that at £50,000.
The season has already been reduced to 27 matches and Dunfermline, having made the best start in our History, and lying comfortably in second place, will not want to lose momentum. After the Cappielow match neither Anton McElhone nor Stevie Crawford expressed much desire for the suggestion.
While Hearts and Dundee would have similar reasons for rejecting this; Arbroath, Alloa Athletic and QOS would fear the music stopping in the game of musical chairs, having witnessed the ghastly experience of eg Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer last season among others.
In any case, the SFA and SPFL talk to clubs on a daily basis and will be well aware of the lack of any discernible enthusiasm.
A few weeks ago Stevie Crawford, in an interview, detailed the horror of current regulations which are costly, inconvenient, uncomfortable, unpleasant but which the club has commendably carried out to the letter. John Robertson, one of the most articulate and intelligent Scottish Managers, went public expressing concern for the 26 players and Families in his charge.
Ian Maxwell may have interpreted those remarks as the official view endorsed by the Inverness club. The BBC states that Ian Maxwell presented these views to the joint Response Group.
Perhaps the new format of this season`s Scottish FA Cup might have offered a get out clause for a club like Inverness CT. In the Cup a club would not be penalised if they could not fulfil the Covid testing requirements eg if a League 2 club were drawn to meet a Premiership club. The club would still receive the bonus payment as if they had been eliminated at that round. Inverness CT would have had to agree that before the Season began though.
Against the backdrop of remarks attributed to Neil Doncaster, about not ruling out declaring the entire season null and void; which no other UEFA Nation has done, concern is being expressed at where this is now leading.