Scottish football will be behind closed doors when it resumes, says chairman

Hamilton’s Allan Maitland ‘can’t see crowds being allowed into the grounds’

Hamilton chairman Allan Maitland, right, with manager Brian Rice. Picture: SNS

Scottish football could have no choice but to kick off next season behind closed doors, according to Allan Maitland.

The Hamilton Accies chairman also quashed hopes of resurrecting reconstruction talks that he claims were doomed from the outset, and revealed that there is now such a gaping schism in the Scottish game that finding any kind of common ground could prove impossible.

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The Premiership boss, speaking to BBC Radio Scotland and raking over the coals of another tumultuous week, conceded that there were elements of the ongoing saga “that could have been better handled”.

“The position has become polarised and the bad feeling between the clubs has got larger and larger, to the extent that there is never going to be an agreement where everyone will say, right, okay, that’s the best thing for Scottish football,” Maitland said.

“The whole thing has become so divisive and so single minded that it has become impossible now. What we have got to do and what was discussed [at Friday’s meeting of Premiership clubs] is try to focus on what we have to do going forward.”

Friday’s meeting saw the breakdown of reconstruction talks, condemning Hearts, Partick Thistle and Stranraer to relegation.

“Everything has been thrown together really quickly. There is so much involved in reconstruction. I don’t think it is something you can launch into,” Maitland added. “I accept Ann Budge’s point of view that we could do something as a temporary answer. But when I look at it I think reconstruction was failing from the start.”

Maitland said it was “unfair for someone to be penalised” in the current circumstances and revealed that Hamilton would not be opposed to “solidarity payments” for the three clubs as a way of lessening the financial blow.

He also addressed the prospect of starting a new term behind closer doors while the ban on mass gatherings remains in place.

“I don’t think we’re going to have much choice. I presume we will have to get the new season started as soon as possible and I can’t see crowds being allowed into the grounds,” he said. “The three big things are, one, this season, two, the reconstruction, and, three, going forward. As one of the owners said [on Friday], it is important that the first two are resolved so we can move on to how we move forward.”

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