Aberdeen issue call for delay in ending the Premiership season

Club will conduct ‘feasibility study’ into playing remaining fixtures

Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS
Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack. Picture: Bill Murray / SNS

Aberdeen have called for a delay in any decision on finalising Premiership league positions while the club undertake a feasibility study into completing this season’s fixtures.

Dave Cormack, the chairman of the Pittodrie side, has written to the other 11 top-flight clubs, the Scottish Professional Football League board and the Scottish FA, stressing the need to protect the “sporting integrity” of the competition.

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In his letter, the Dons chairman wrote: “We urge the board to wait until the consultation can be informed by the outcome of our work.”

The bottom three divisions in Scotland have already been ended early after a resolution to determine league positions on a points-per-game-played average was passed by member clubs. The vote simultaneously gave the SPFL board the authority to call the Premiership season following consultation with clubs.

But Cormack believes there is still a will amongst the top-flight teams to find a way to play the remaining eight rounds of fixtures.

He said: “In discussions with colleague clubs, there appears to be a strong desire to at least investigate how we can deliver this while protecting as far as possible the integrity of season 2020-21 commencement and the broadcasting and commercial commitments that go side by side with this.

“There are many reasons to explore solutions for fulfilling the remaining league matches, not least maintaining the sporting integrity of the competition, the fulfilment by clubs to their supporters of season ticket value, likewise clubs’ sponsors and partners, minimising the risk to our central broadcasting and sponsorship contracts, and finally satisfying Uefa that our best endeavours have been made to complete our season and maintaining Scottish clubs’ presence in European competition.

“Given the significance of all of these issues to the future prospects of the SPFL’s top tier clubs and their ultimate survival, we are engaged on a piece of work which is designed to demonstrate the practicality – or otherwise – of holding games later in the year in the circumstances likely to be prevailing at that time in Scotland.”

Aberdeen’s letter goes on to identify four key areas which will be examined in the feasibility study:

• Developing a fixture programme which fulfils all remaining Premiership and Scottish Cup matches as well as a full 38-game season calendar for 2020-21 before the commencement of Euro 2021. This model assumes a regular Uefa Europa

League and Uefa Champions League programme, albeit starting slightly later than previous years. The model also assumes the international fixture calendar remains unchanged.

• The ability of playing squads to fulfil a heavier than usual match calendar while maintaining performance levels and without adversely affecting the outcome of matches.

• A swift and safe return to training for first team squads, taking all necessary steps to maintain the safety of the players and staff and minimising the risk of coronavirus infection and spread.

• The lessons of other countries, leagues and clubs in emerging from the coronavirus pandemic and returning to train and play (for example, in England, Germany and the USA) including radical options for where, when and how games are played and watched.

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