On the Need for a Scottish Football Festival
UEFA this week announced a four-week deadline for the SPFL to decide on final plans for the future of this season’s Premiership campaign. Amidst all the acrimony here’s a proposal for how to finish the league, bring much needed income to the clubs, bring back the football in the lockdown, and retain some integrity for the game.
The Scottish Professional Football League was formed on June 27, 2013 when the Scottish Football League and the Scottish Premier League merged to create a single body to govern the 42 league clubs in Scotland.
I can’t see it anywhere on their website (which is astonishing) but I believe the SPFL has a responsibility to govern, ensure the integrity and future stability of the game in Scotland and to sell the product with as much value as possible.
Here is a proposal that could fulfill all of these criteria.
There are 48 games left to play to resolve the Scottish Premiership.
SPFL should launch a ‘Scottish Football Festival’ – one month of solid football – to conclude the season. In July or August … or September.
Closed door games televised live. All of them. 2 games every day.
Each game will require approximately 100 people who are all tested.
We estimate the costs for this to be under £50,000, costs vary from £2 to £8 per kit, plus the employment of medical staff to monitor the process over the month.
The event would require 2 x playing squads, match officials, physios, TV crew, and security to be tested and declared fit.
Aberdeen have 8 games left – Aberdeen play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Celtic have 8 games left – Celtic play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Hamilton have 8 games left – Hamilton play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Hearts have 8 games left – Hearts play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Hibs have 8 games left – Hibs play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Kilmarnock have 8 games left – Kilmarnock play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Livingston have 8 games left – Livingston play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Motherwell have 8 games left – Motherwell play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
Ross County have 8 games left – Ross County play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
St. Mirren have 8 games left – St. Mirren play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 32 days (one month)
St. Johnston have 9 games left St. Johnston play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 36 days (one month)
Rangers have 9 games left – Rangers play 1 game every 4 days – Complete after 36 days (one month)
FIFA have suggested that clubs might be able to use up to five substitutes to aid with fixture congestion.
Contractually I believe the SPFL must provide 30 live games to both BT and Sky in this current season.
So far under the existing TV deal there have been 18 shown by BT and 17 games shown by SKY. Both (between them) now have 25 left to contractually show out of the remaining 48.
The SPFL should now offer SKY and BT the other 23 games for £10m.
Based on an average viewing audience (in normal times!) of 100,000 per game, charging £5 per game the TV companies could raise £11,500,000. Plus advertising revenue. Plus an increased audience desperate for football. Plus the 100,000 that attend matches each week that cannot now go because of lockdown / social distancing restrictions. We are now talking three times the amount.
Each Premiership club can then get a pay-out of £833,000.
The fans get to look forward to some much starved entertainment, which is important for everyone’s mental health.
The TV companies get to televise their product and increase advertising revenue.
The league retains its integrity that it is in danger of losing.
What are other countries across Europe doing?
Players can (and are) doing individual training to get ready for this, as is being done in Italy.
In the English Premiership – they intend to complete season.
La Liga – intend to return.
If those leagues can do it, so can Scotland. Everywhere in Europe want to complete on the pitch. Only Scotland wants to end without completing and dish out trophies and relegation. It’s a parochial embarrassment.
The SPFL will meet Scotland’s Sports Minister, Joe Fitzpatrick, on Tuesday (5 May) to discuss football returning. The SPFL board are said to be open to any method allowing games to be played, including behind closed doors.
This is a plea for the SPFL to show some leadership, show some ingenuity and sell the game.
Let’s do this.