Falkirk accuse SPFL of disregarding player well-being after postponement request turned down

Falkirk have accused the Scottish Professional Football League board of disregarding player welfare after the league’s governing body turned down an appeal to have their opening league game postponed in the wake of a Covid-19 outbreak.
Falkirk were furious with the SPFL after the decision. Picture: SNSFalkirk were furious with the SPFL after the decision. Picture: SNS
Falkirk were furious with the SPFL after the decision. Picture: SNS

The League One club were forced into forfeiting the final two games of their Premier Sports Cup campaign after five players tested positive for the illness, which forced a further nine into isolation.

The players doing the government-mandated ten-day isolation period won’t return until Friday, while the remainder will be free from Saturday.

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Though all players are available for Saturday’s encounter with Cove Rangers in Aberdeen, Paul Sheerin’s side argued that players would be at risk if forced to play so soon after returning from their period of isolation.

The SPFL turned down the request and received a scathing response from Falkirk.

They wrote in a statement: “The club have received notice from the SPFL Board this evening that our request for the postponement of Saturday’s fixture against Cove Rangers has been rejected.

“We fundamentally disagree with the decision of the SPFL board which does not address concerns raised by our club, medical professionals and PFA Scotland about the negative physical and mental health impact this could have on our players. The club has yet to receive any explanation or rationale from the SPFL board or its staff other than “SPFL rules state that clubs must fulfil scheduled fixtures”.

“The club put forward a measured and logical case to the SPFL and asked them to provide us with a summary of the medical advice they considered when reaching their decision. No such advice has been provided which leads us to the inescapable conclusion this decision was based on the rule book rather than medical evidence, impact on player welfare or common sense.

“We believe this sets a dangerous precedent for clubs, and more importantly player welfare across Scotland. A message has gone out loud and clear from the SPFL – regardless of player welfare concerns, all clubs will be forced to fulfil their fixtures or face disciplinary action.

“Our fixture with Cove Rangers will go ahead as scheduled at 3pm on Saturday but to be clear we are playing this fixture under duress and the threat of disciplinary action.”

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