'Unacceptable': Scotland and Liverpool defender Andy Robertson strongly opposes controversial fixture plan

Andy Robertson insists it would be ‘unacceptable’ if Scotland’s summer fixture list is extended to accommodate the postponed World Cup play-off semi-final against Ukraine.

Andy Robertson has recovered from coronavirus and is set to return to the Scotland side and win his 56th cap in Tuesday night's friendly against Austria in Vienna. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Andy Robertson has recovered from coronavirus and is set to return to the Scotland side and win his 56th cap in Tuesday night's friendly against Austria in Vienna. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)

The Scots are already scheduled to play four UEFA Nations League games in 11 days in June, while uncertainty continues to surround the World Cup tie at home to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion and military assault on the country.

One potential contingency plan envisaged by FIFA and UEFA is for that match – and the play-off final against Wales in Cardiff – to take place in June if the situation in Ukraine has improved sufficiently.

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Scotland captain Robertson hopes that scenario can play out but only if the World Cup fixtures replace two of the Nations League games which he feels could be moved to later in the year.

Scotland captain Andy Robertson (centre) with Stuart Armstrong (left) and Ryan Jack (right) during a training session at Oriam in Edinburgh on Monday. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
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“From a football point of view, I don’t think it’s fair to ask players to play six international games in June when our summer break is already being cut short because of the World Cup Finals during the season,” said the Liverpool left-back with reference to next season’s English Premier League starting a week earlier than usual on August 6.

“A lot has been said about player welfare over the last couple of years and I hope that’s at the front of it,” he added.

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“All the players are going to have to go through it and to ask players to have only two weeks off in a whole year is unacceptable for me.

“I hope that from a footballing point of view the decision about the games in the summer is taken wisely.

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“Life is more important than football and what’s happening in Ukraine is tough to watch from afar. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.

“From a football point of view then, it has to be on Ukraine’s terms, I agree with that. It’s about when they are in a position to play the game.

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“Whenever Ukraine can play the game then we have to play it, whether that’s September or October or whenever it has to be.

“Don’t get me wrong, I hope the Ukraine game is in June because it will mean the world and Ukraine are in a better place. I definitely want that game going ahead in June with them being in a position to do so.

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“But I think maybe other games could be moved to other international breaks to fit that in. Four games in June is (already) a lot.

“Look, let’s hope a decision is made soon so everyone knows what’s happening and what’s going on and hopefully that’s made in the next couple of weeks and we will deal with whatever decision is made. We’ve got better scenarios and worse scenarios but let’s hope a decision is made and once it is we will deal with it either way.”

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Robertson will be back in action for Scotland in their friendly against Austria in Vienna on Tuesday night after missing last Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Poland at Hampden because of coronavirus.

“It finally got me after two years or so,” he said. “I was in bed for the first couple of days then just had to wait for a negative test. I feel a lot better now, thankfully.”

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