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Coronavirus and the Scottish Championship

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Hamilton have announced they won't be selling season tickets for next season. Instead they'll be doing a virtual "pay at the turnstile" initiative.

Probably the way most clubs will need to go tbh

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39 minutes ago, SpoonTon said:

I don't see any real chance of the type of bail out which would allow clubs to skip a season. There always a chance of some sort of additional funding for the SPFL or SFA to help in specific ways, but it won't prop clubs up. 

The bottom line is that the SPFL as a whole, and all the individual clubs, are going to have to find a way of operating without fans at games for a period of time, and perhaps then a period with restrictions on crowds. This certainly isn't impossible, but a hell of a lot of work is going to have to be done to get there - and all of the clubs' efforts need to be focused on doing this. 

I still think it will far less costly generally to skip a season than to try to play it under zero income conditions, certainly outside the top level. I'm not remotely convinced it will work at the top level either but I guess we'll see.

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1 minute ago, rb123! said:

Hamilton have announced they won't be selling season tickets for next season. Instead they'll be doing a virtual "pay at the turnstile" initiative.

Probably the way most clubs will need to go tbh

It's not "virtual". What they've said is they aren't selling season tickets when they've no idea how many games will be played or when and therefore they'll only take money at turnstiles when they can play. There's no suggestion at this stage of that being done on a virtual basis for closed door games. 

It's an interesting statement bearing in mind Les Gray is heavily involved in the high level workings of the SPFL. It contains a statement that it is unlikely the remaining games of this season will be played (they may have meant with supporter attendance but that's not what it says). That's further than the League itself has gone so far.

Fair play, it's the most realistic assessment of the months ahead of us I've seen from a club yet. An acceptance that even in the Premier League this season is done and that there's no realistic prospect of playing a full consistent season next year either and that therefore rather than create later problems down the line, they won't collect season tickets for next season now.

 

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11 minutes ago, rb123! said:

Hamilton have announced they won't be selling season tickets for next season. Instead they'll be doing a  "pay at the turnstile" initiative.

Probably the way most clubs will need to go tbh

They're asking fans to pay more money for the same amount of games. 

It's incredibly brave/stupid. (will need to revisit after 6 or 12 months). 

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Just now, Dele said:

They're asking fans to pay more money for the same amount of games. 

It's incredibly brave/stupid. (will need to revisit after 6 or 12 months). 

That's one way of looking at it. I'd say it's far more responsible than taking money from fans now based on an assumption of 18 home games next season (or 19 in the Premiership) as a number of clubs have done, presumably in some cases through necessity to get cash in,  when it's extremely likely we'll play less than that. Certainly with attendances.

I think it's the right thing to do. If it becomes clear at a later point that a full season open door  will happen then it's easy enough to change policy or introduce a half season ticket. For the moment "we're not going to charge you for something we don't think we can deliver" seems very fair.

And of course it will be revisited after 12 months, they're not suggesting this will be their business model moving forward for years to come!

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2 minutes ago, Dele said:

They're asking fans to pay more money for the same amount of games. 

It's incredibly brave/stupid. (will need to revisit after 6 or 12 months). 

But think of how many Hamilton season ticket holders there actually are? Apart from those loyal few they’re not going to want to go to each and every game.

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25 minutes ago, Skyline Drifter said:

I still think it will far less costly generally to skip a season than to try to play it under zero income conditions, certainly outside the top level. I'm not remotely convinced it will work at the top level either but I guess we'll see.

I've hinted at this before, but I'll raise it again with you because of your insight.

In your view, is all the talk of clubs not surviving this, over the top?

It no doubt sounds flippant and simplistic, but is it not pretty easy for clubs simply to hibernate?  I know that it won't be uniform for all clubs, and that size will definitely matter here.  Whether you own or rent your ground might be relevant too I suppose.

I can't help thinking though that the fact that players - at our level anyway - have short contracts means the major outgoing can surely soon cease, for as long as it takes.  Furlough has enabled most to cope.  If and when that ends, can people not be made redundant if need be?  Now that's obviously regrettable and saying it sounds callous.  Is it not the reality though?

I'm asking genuinely because I'm pretty clueless.  Obviously, I'm not looking for particular comment on Queens, as we've been here before.  Do you see the grim reaper warming up for visiting lots of clubs though?  Personally, I have doubts but I keep reading otherwise.

 

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34 minutes ago, Skyline Drifter said:

I still think it will far less costly generally to skip a season than to try to play it under zero income conditions, certainly outside the top level. I'm not remotely convinced it will work at the top level either but I guess we'll see.

That depends on the particular situation of each club. 

The idea that there would 'zero income' is incredibly pessimistic. 

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3 minutes ago, SpoonTon said:

That depends on the particular situation of each club. 

The idea that there would 'zero income' is incredibly pessimistic. 

Near zero then. Zero match day income. Where are clubs getting income from? Other than potentially from SPFL awards which you can only presume will be circa £150k at Championship level. There's a better Sky deal for next season but potentially a clawback for last season's incomplete deal, plus the League doesn't yet have a sponsor for next season and getting one at the moment seems a long shot. £150k at this level might cover the fixed costs of operating, maybe. Kit, training facilities, admin staff, groundsmen, management, physios, first aiders, utilities, etc. You haven't paid a player yet.

I'm not massively expert on Morton but what other sources of income to Morton have away from the actual football? Stripping out attendance fees, hospitality, ground advertising, programme sales, sponsorship, what else is there? You might get some sponsorship but that's also likely to be a hard sell for clubs moving forward as businesses will have less cash. Fan donations will only go so far unless someone with enormous wealth is going to chuck vast amounts of it at a club (see Partick Thistle / Colin Weir). The idea that some sort of online streaming subscriptions will replace gate income at this level is fanciful. What clubs like Morton and Queen of the South can make from that will not be significant even if they can produce it reliably.

I've said it before but at lower league level, I think closed doors only works if we're all going field teams of amateurs or near amateur part timers.

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11 minutes ago, SpoonTon said:

That depends on the particular situation of each club. 

The idea that there would 'zero income' is incredibly pessimistic. 

It's surely just realistic.

How can clubs at this sort of level, raise any significant money, while not playing matches in front of paying customers?

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17 minutes ago, Monkey Tennis said:

It's surely just realistic.

How can clubs at this sort of level, raise any significant money, while not playing matches in front of paying customers?

They can barely raise money with them, never mind without. Every club had financial challenges before. Only the deluded can think otherwise.

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16 minutes ago, Monkey Tennis said:

I've hinted at this before, but I'll raise it again with you because of your insight.

In your view, is all the talk of clubs not surviving this, over the top?

It no doubt sounds flippant and simplistic, but is it not pretty easy for clubs simply to hibernate?  I know that it won't be uniform for all clubs, and that size will definitely matter here.  Whether you own or rent your ground might be relevant too I suppose.

I can't help thinking though that the fact that players - at our level anyway - have short contracts means the major outgoing can surely soon cease, for as long as it takes.  Furlough has enabled most to cope.  If and when that ends, can people not be made redundant if need be?  Now that's obviously regrettable and saying it sounds callous.  Is it not the reality though?

I'm asking genuinely because I'm pretty clueless.  Obviously, I'm not looking for particular comment on Queens, as we've been here before.  Do you see the grim reaper warming up for visiting lots of clubs though?  Personally, I have doubts but I keep reading otherwise.

 

It's hard to say. Genuinely. I'm not imminently worried about us but I don't know much about most other clubs.

I think generally it would be reasonably easy for most clubs to 'hibernate' for a year at lower levels provided that they can remove football costs entirely and they have minimal off field costs. Generally speaking of course the smaller the club the easier that will be and the more they are run by volunteer labour already by and large. It clearly would be much easier to hibernate for a year if you knew right now that it would be a year. The flexibility of an uncertain start point for next season is a problem. Those clubs who have few or no players contracted for next season can probably hibernate ok, especially if it is possible to make players redundant (I've no idea if it is or not - well, clearly it is but I don't know if the contract would need paid up in full anyway). Those who have lots under contract will have a bigger problem as furlough reduces and then disappears unless they can go the redundancy route. But you can't really even consider redundancy if you might be playing relatively soon.

I have no idea how many lower level clubs have significant off field costs. Ground rent might be an issue as you say for those that pay it if landlords aren't co-operative.

It will be a much bigger issue for top level clubs or larger Championship clubs whose payroll costs are bound to significantly exceed the furlough limits and who are likely to have longer term contracts to deal with and far more off field staff. I would have thought that some of the smaller top level sides would be in more danger than lower division ones but who knows? I don't doubt if some clubs have been saying they have problems they will be genuine enough.

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I can't see any way of playing in empty stadiums for a prolonged period of time being at all sustainable. I think even a couple of months would really be pushing it for the vast majority of clubs.

As has been noted, almost all revenue streams will be absent yet all costs will remain.

There seem to be quite a lot of people who still don't understand the seriousness of this situation and think that games in empty stadiums is genuinely feasible.

I really think that skipping season 20/21 needs to be seriously considered.

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Presumably Hearts, Falkirk, Partick Thistle, Stranraer, Inverness and Sevco will not want next season to go ahead anyway given how much they value sporting integrity?

If next season does go ahead then some clubs may be forced to play youth teams or amateur players as they won't be able to afford having a squad of a higher standard. This will then mean that it will really come down to money in the league, more so than usual. The more resources (money) a club has, the better they'll be able to do. That's usually true anyway, but will be exponentially so in this scenario.

Where is the sporting integrity in that? Presumably fans and officials of Hearts, Falkirk, Partick Thistle, Inverness and Sevco would definitely not show themselves to be lying, screeching hypocritical wankers and not the champions of morality that they claimed and actual bitter losers, and would demand that such inequitable leagues do not take place, or that if they did would be on to their clubs right away to demand that they sign players on par with clubs with less money to spend?

Yes? Surely?

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18 minutes ago, DA Baracus said:

I can't see any way of playing in empty stadiums for a prolonged period of time being at all sustainable. I think even a couple of months would really be pushing it for the vast majority of clubs.

As has been noted, almost all revenue streams will be absent yet all costs will remain.

There seem to be quite a lot of people who still don't understand the seriousness of this situation and think that games in empty stadiums is genuinely feasible.

I really think that skipping season 20/21 needs to be seriously considered.

A lot will depend on how the Govt (UK & Scottish) see us coming out of this in the longer term. We've got WHO tonight conceding that actually Covid may be here for good, we'll never have a vaccine and we might just have to deal with it as a society as we did with Aids. If that's the case then ultimately we maybe just need to get on with it at some point and deal with the consequences. I'm petrified of what that potentially means for my children who are high risk but they can't be kept in a house for the next 70 years and I can't remain isolated and not doing my job for month and years to keep them there.

The lockdown at the moment was primarily to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, and easing it off gradually will presumably be a tactic in order to let the NHS continue to cope. It also bought time to move towards a vaccine but even the most optimistic estimates think we won't see a vaccine until 2021. It's likely that the long term policy barring a miracle disappearance of it or a vaccine will be greater social distancing for years to come and bans on mass gatherings. That has massive ramifications for professional sport (and concerts, etc). I guess we'll watch with interest how the situation works in places like Germany and Italy, and potentially England where moves are being made to get back to playing and see what happens. Sooner or later some country will go back to open door games and it's a racing certainty we won't be the first. Guidance will be gained from that I guess but I don't think we'll have open door games this calendar year and I don't think closed door is very realistic in this country, certainly not below the top division. As such then we either go near amateur or we accept that next season will be pretty much a write off.

I hope I'm wrong.

Edited by Skyline Drifter

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21 minutes ago, DA Baracus said:

I can't see any way of playing in empty stadiums for a prolonged period of time being at all sustainable. I think even a couple of months would really be pushing it for the vast majority of clubs.

As has been noted, almost all revenue streams will be absent yet all costs will remain.

There seem to be quite a lot of people who still don't understand the seriousness of this situation and think that games in empty stadiums is genuinely feasible.

I really think that skipping season 20/21 needs to be seriously considered.

I think skipping next season really needs to be given proper thought right now as well. The stuff yesterday about preparing to start again in July seems  a bit silly to me. Like the decisions we've recetly been through, it'll be near-impossible to find something all clubs can agree on, but shutting down for a year does seem a plausible outcome. A widspread invoking of Clause 12 in contracts would be utterly terrible for players but genuinely might be the only way that clubs can survive until summer 2021.

It would be nce if we could get back to games before then, but it looks difficult to me to find a way of allowing that to happen. Finding a way to have a full-year suspension needs to be considered as a serious option.

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It's far too early for talk about shelving next season.

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1 minute ago, Socks said:

I think skipping next season really needs to be given proper thought right now as well. The stuff yesterday about preparing to start again in July seems  a bit silly to me. Like the decisions we've recetly been through, it'll be near-impossible to find something all clubs can agree on, but shutting down for a year does seem a plausible outcome. A widspread invoking of Clause 12 in contracts would be utterly terrible for players but genuinely might be the only way that clubs can survive until summer 2021.

It would be nce if we could get back to games before then, but it looks difficult to me to find a way of allowing that to happen. Finding a way to have a full-year suspension needs to be considered as a serious option.

At the very least a half season, starting in January and with no cup competitions, (save to finish the two outstanding ones) needs to be an option.

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1 minute ago, Rob1885 said:

It's far too early for talk about shelving next season.

I'm not so sure. I simply can't see a way that it is financially possible to have games in empty stadiums. At the moment it's an insurmountable barrier.

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I'd have to ask, other than thinking clubs will die without it, why anyone would want a season to be played if no fans are allowed in the stadiums? I can see the merit in trying to work out a way of finishing off this campaign but that's not an issue in our division. I'd have no real interest in watching Pars games online in empty grounds for an entire season so if that's probable then I'd say sack it and hope the situation is better by the summer of 2021.

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