The SFA and SPFL are in panic mode with a real threat over whether the Glasgow Derby on March 21 will go ahead.
A weekend of law-breaking by Ibrox fans appears to have been brushed aside by the club but it seems that the Scottish Government won’t be fobbed off so easily.
Seeing the law-breaking advertised on Social Media then given Police protection to proceed has sparked a furious backlash against the Government across the country.
Families have been separated for the best part of 12 months, grandparents are waiting to hold grand-children for the first time, grieving relatives have been left to mourn alone from a year that many may never recover from.
In contrast it seems that one group of football supporters have been given a free pass because their team has lost a few matches over the last couple of years. The scenes in and around George Square wouldn’t be legal at any time but during lockdown, in a pandemic that has killed 7,000 Scots it is difficult to take on board for many across the land.
Over the last 12 months the Scottish Government has given Scottish football a number of privileges that others have been denied. Fearing a backlash or breakdown in respect for the Lockdown it seems that they are expecting strong action from the SFA or else they will be ‘instructed’ what to do as the Daily Record reports:
Record Sport can reveal the Hampden top brass Ian Maxwell and Neil Doncaster were asked to hold an urgent video conference call with minister for public health, sport and wellbeing Mairi Gougeon to discuss the scenes in Glasgow on Sunday night when thousands of Rangers fans took to the streets to celebrate the club’s first top flight title in ten years.
Images of the mass gatherings prompted a stinging rebuke from deputy First Minister John Swinney at yesterday’s daily coronavirus briefing as well as a warning that clubs and football’s governing bodies will have to satisfy Holyrood that no breaches will be repeated between now and the end of the current campaign.
Swinney stopped short of threatening to pull the plug on what is left of the season but stressed that he could ‘rule nothing out’ as he slammed Rangers for failing to demand that their supporters dispersed from outside Ibrox and the city’s George Square.
And his blast was followed up by Gougeon who contacted SFA chief executive Maxwell and his SPFL counterpart Doncaster to discuss what action can be taken in order to prevent more supporters risking public health by turning up in big numbers as the season reaches a climax behind closed doors.
Maxwell could even come under pressure to make an example of Rangers by throwing the disciplinary book at them ahead of the derby showdown at Parkhead a week on Sunday.
It’s understood the government, cops and health officials are worried that fans of both sides could descend on the outskirts of the stadium with the potential for serious public order concerns.
Earlier this season the SFA clamped down when Boli Bolingoli decided not to self-isolate after taking a trip to Spain. Within a week of the news surfacing the player was charged by the SFA with two Celtic matches postponed.
On February 14 five of Steven Gerrard’s players were issued with Fixed Penalties by Police Scotland but no action has been taken by the SFA.
That new found leniency looks to be troubling the Scottish Government who’ll be looking for them to act firmly and in public.
There are potentially three more Glasgow Derbies and a Scottish Cup Final to be played before the end of May with the SFA expecting to host four matches during the European Championships.