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Granny Danger

Coronavirus and the Scottish Championship

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In an ever-changing situation, I'd not be sticking nails in the coffin of a season that's not even started yet. Theres an opportunity to look at what other countries are doing or plan to do. Scottish football is not unique to this issue regarding playing behind closed doors being a non-starter.

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44 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 it has to be considered in terms of the Championship and leagues below.  It's a pretty apocalyptic concept for the bigger teams in the Premiership in particular.

A couple of questions about the Pars.

1.  Do you have an option for overseas fans to pay to watch home games live?

2.  How many players do you have signed up for next season?  Presumably your expectation is that all of them would have to be given the 'article 12' treatment unless something happens that means that there is a guarantee of games with fans before the end of this year.

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1 minute ago, Poet of the Macabre said:

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.

I think folk are so desperate to get games back on that they don't realise just how shit games in empty grounds are and how quickly they'll turn off them.

A German firm have made some dreadful sounding app that lets fans send in crowd noise to stadiums that is played over the speakers/tannoy. No 'Booo!' option sadly.

https://hack-care.de/myapplause-app/

 

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2 minutes ago, Parttimesupporter said:

I think it has to be considered in terms of the Championship and leagues below.  It's a pretty apocalyptic concept for the bigger teams in the Premiership in particular.

A couple of questions about the Pars.

1.  Do you have an option for overseas fans to pay to watch home games live?

2.  How many players do you have signed up for next season?  Presumably your expectation is that all of them would have to be given the 'article 12' treatment unless something happens that means that there is a guarantee of games with fans before the end of this year.

1. Yes.

2. Not sure, but a fair amount.

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4 minutes ago, Rob1885 said:

In an ever-changing situation, I'd not be sticking nails in the coffin of a season that's not even started yet. Theres an opportunity to look at what other countries are doing or plan to do. Scottish football is not unique to this issue regarding playing behind closed doors being a non-starter.

Yeah, there might be a solution yet, but it needs to be discussed as a serious and prominent option.

A pressing concern is the short timeframe for such decisions though.

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We probably have enough signed for next year to field a team, though many of them are youth players who haven't been near the first team yet. Unfortunate timing really, as we didn't have many on 2-year contracts until quite recently.

I agree about how shite it would be having games without fans and I don't think I have much appetite for watching games in empty grounds via internet streaming either. To me it just has a feel of 'what's the point?' The whole attraction of watching a pishy wee team at our level is that I can go to see my team play whenever I want and because they're my team that I can go and see often, I really care. Take that away and I think I'd feel quite differently about it all.

Closed door or no football for a year - difficult to say without being in the situation, but I'd likely see the two options as not that different from each other.

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20 minutes ago, DA Baracus said:

1. Yes.

2. Not sure, but a fair amount.

Going by Wikipedia it has Dunfermline down as 9 players signed to 2021of which a couple are youngsters , don’t know how accurate that is , it has 13 players going out of contract at end of this season 

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Well that was a depressing read, this evenings updates include:

1. No league sponsor for next season

2. Possibility of never having a Covid-19 vaccine

3. Skipping a season out so no football until August 2021

Great Laugh, i'll just cry myself to sleep now. 

Edited by rb123!

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I think a positive step would involve everyone abandoning any notion whatever of closed door games next season, streamed or otherwise.  The idea that streaming games can generate any real money at this level is preposterous.

The only way closed doors might possibly have been viable (but even then, never really was practically) would have been as a means of concluding this season.

 

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2 hours ago, Skyline Drifter said:

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.

Thanks.  That's a detailed answer that kind of chimes with much of my guesswork. 

It's not so much that I've heard lots of clubs saying they're at death's door.  It's more that general coverage in papers and radio, and often even on here, keeps telling us that loads of clubs won't survive this.  

As I see it from afar, I'd have thought clubs could be reasonably resilient, in that they can respond to collapsed income by slashing outgoings more successfully than lots of businesses would be able to.

As you say, the size of the operation in the first place, is likely to be important.

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29 minutes ago, rb123! said:

Well that was a depressing read, this evenings updates include:

1. No league sponsor for next season

2. Possibility of never having a Covid-19 vaccine

3. Skipping a season out so no football until August 2021

Great Laugh, i'll just cry myself to sleep now. 

The League not having a sponsor for next season was already well known. It's not news. Ladbrokes was confirmed about a year ago as not renewing their present deal when it expired. The effective ban on gambling advertising scuppered that and they spent the last year of their deal almost hiding their involvement. It's still called the Ladbrokes League but the pitchside hoardings throughout the country were replaced with "Bet Aware" hoardings and the sleeve patches disappeared from playing kits this season.

I'm not sure if there was a new sponsor in the pipeline before this. Maybe there still is, but if the everyone's favourite target Neil Doncaster has managed to pull off a new sponsor in the current environment then he's worked a miracle!

WHO's public comment on the future of Covid tonight was surprising in that they said it more than that it may be the case. The idea that we'll just sort out a vaccine no bother seems to me to be wildly optimistic (without being at all medically minded). We've had Aids for what, 40 years or so now and whilst treatments have improved, they haven't got a vaccine yet.

Skipping a season at this level I think is a very real possibility (which will no doubt massively please Hearts!). I doubt we'll consciously decide to skip it any time soon but I'm unconvinced we'll be able to play it. All the expertise seems to suggest a second spike is inevitable at some point and come winter it will presumably be worse as it interacts with the usual seasonal flu also.

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9 minutes ago, Monkey Tennis said:

It's not so much that I've heard lots of clubs saying they're at death's door.  It's more that general coverage in papers and radio, and often even on here, keeps telling us that loads of clubs won't survive this.  

As I see it from afar, I'd have thought clubs could be reasonably resilient, in that they can respond to collapsed income by slashing outgoings more successfully than lots of businesses would be able to.

As you say, the size of the operation in the first place, is likely to be important.

The SPFL themselves stated in their arguments for ending the lower divisions when they did that several clubs had intimated that they needed the funds to stay alive so it's not just media speculation. I don't think any individual club came out and said they were in trouble but the chances are that those who were amongst the first to set up donation campaigns are likely suspects. It may of course be that a lot of that was in relation to cashflow funding for wages before the Furlough Scheme repayments started coming in, rather than that they were on the point of going bust.

We're fortunate I suppose in a way that the crisis hit so near the end of a season. If it had hit in August when clubs had full squads and contracts running for 10 months then it would be a massively bigger problem. It wouldn't be so easy to slash outgoings then unless it was legally accepted that playing contracts could be voided which is highly debatable. As it stands the timing was such that most lower division clubs won't have massive numbers of contracted liabilities.

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8 hours ago, Skyline Drifter said:

The SPFL themselves stated in their arguments for ending the lower divisions when they did that several clubs had intimated that they needed the funds to stay alive so it's not just media speculation. I don't think any individual club came out and said they were in trouble but the chances are that those who were amongst the first to set up donation campaigns are likely suspects. It may of course be that a lot of that was in relation to cashflow funding for wages before the Furlough Scheme repayments started coming in, rather than that they were on the point of going bust.

We're fortunate I suppose in a way that the crisis hit so near the end of a season. If it had hit in August when clubs had full squads and contracts running for 10 months then it would be a massively bigger problem. It wouldn't be so easy to slash outgoings then unless it was legally accepted that playing contracts could be voided which is highly debatable. As it stands the timing was such that most lower division clubs won't have massive numbers of contracted liabilities.

Regarding the bit in bold, if there's a second spike, as many fear, then that would be a massive issue if clubs have a full squad signed up but lose loads of income.

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Genuinely believe that at some point the developed world is just going to say, 'f**k it'.

Already reports that the Corona virus will be here long term and despite the ridiculous comparisons to the flu, it may well end up just being treated like that.

Obviously I don't hope that's the case and it'll not happen any time soon, but that'd be a blessing in disguise for clubs in this league. 

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9 hours ago, Skyline Drifter said:

Skipping a season at this level I think is a very real possibility (which will no doubt massively please Hearts!).

Why would this please Hearts? They won’t be playing in the top flight if it goes ahead while the lower leagues don’t, and I’d imagine it would be incredibly hard to mothball a club of that size.

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9 hours ago, Skyline Drifter said:

The SPFL themselves stated in their arguments for ending the lower divisions when they did that several clubs had intimated that they needed the funds to stay alive so it's not just media speculation. I don't think any individual club came out and said they were in trouble but the chances are that those who were amongst the first to set up donation campaigns are likely suspects. It may of course be that a lot of that was in relation to cashflow funding for wages before the Furlough Scheme repayments started coming in, rather than that they were on the point of going bust.

We're fortunate I suppose in a way that the crisis hit so near the end of a season. If it had hit in August when clubs had full squads and contracts running for 10 months then it would be a massively bigger problem. It wouldn't be so easy to slash outgoings then unless it was legally accepted that playing contracts could be voided which is highly debatable. As it stands the timing was such that most lower division clubs won't have massive numbers of contracted liabilities.

There was an element of media speculation, but I don't think the following comment from Murdoch McLennan's Q&A was particularly helpful.

"What would have caused major damage, not only to Partick Thistle, but to clubs the length and breadth of the country, would have been to 'kick the can down the road', deny the funds to clubs that were literally on their knees and watch possibly dozens of them going to the wall."

There is a cheery article on the BBC website dealing with the risk of insolvency for Scottish clubs.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/52645272

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The League not having a sponsor for next season was already well known. It's not news. Ladbrokes was confirmed about a year ago as not renewing their present deal when it expired. The effective ban on gambling advertising scuppered that and they spent the last year of their deal almost hiding their involvement. It's still called the Ladbrokes League but the pitchside hoardings throughout the country were replaced with "Bet Aware" hoardings and the sleeve patches disappeared from playing kits this season.
I'm not sure if there was a new sponsor in the pipeline before this. Maybe there still is, but if the everyone's favourite target Neil Doncaster has managed to pull off a new sponsor in the current environment then he's worked a miracle!
WHO's public comment on the future of Covid tonight was surprising in that they said it more than that it may be the case. The idea that we'll just sort out a vaccine no bother seems to me to be wildly optimistic (without being at all medically minded). We've had Aids for what, 40 years or so now and whilst treatments have improved, they haven't got a vaccine yet.
Skipping a season at this level I think is a very real possibility (which will no doubt massively please Hearts!). I doubt we'll consciously decide to skip it any time soon but I'm unconvinced we'll be able to play it. All the expertise seems to suggest a second spike is inevitable at some point and come winter it will presumably be worse as it interacts with the usual seasonal flu also.
Vaccines aren't the only answer to get towards life as something approaching normal. There are plenty trials ongoing into treatments at the same time - if existing drugs can stop mild to moderate cases from needing intensive care then this would be a big move in the short to medium term, with long term looking to specific anti-virals.

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1 hour ago, DA Baracus said:

Regarding the bit in bold, if there's a second spike, as many fear, then that would be a massive issue if clubs have a full squad signed up but lose loads of income.

Surely the answer to that is article 12 (perhaps with revised wording), with players signing a new contract also explicitly confirming that this provision has been explained to them.

It's horrible for players, but if new contracts are offered there will be a lot of competition, and an uncertain wage is better than no wage.  Unfortunately I can't see how there can be any scope for players getting insurance against that risk.

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27 minutes ago, Nightmare said:

Why would this please Hearts? They won’t be playing in the top flight if it goes ahead while the lower leagues don’t, and I’d imagine it would be incredibly hard to mothball a club of that size.

Well it clearly wouldnt please Hearts. It would be absolutely disasterous gor Hearts to sit idle for a year in the Championship while the Premiership was trying to play closed door and as you say trying to hibernate a business the size of Hearts would be well nigh impossible.

I was obviously being sarcastic.

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