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Falkirk chairman slams Covid suspension ‘double-standards’

Gary Deans accuses football authorities of 'ill-thought through and poorly communicated' decision to end lower league season.

Falkirk chairman slams Covid suspension ‘double-standards’ SNS Group
Falkirk's league campaign has been suspended due to coronavirus.

The chairman of Falkirk has criticised Scottish football’s governing bodies for their “ill-thought through and poorly communicated” decision to suspend the lower-league season.

Gary Deans said his club was not consulted ahead of the announcement by the Scottish Football Association board to suspend professional football beneath SPFL Championship level for three weeks due to the escalating coronavirus situation.

Deans said Scottish football had “proven itself unable to deal with undoubtedly difficult circumstances” during the pandemic

He said: “The unfairness, inconsistency, and double standards on display is there for everyone to see.

“It is heartening to see other clubs express similar disappointment, but I know such expressions will ultimately fail to sway the decisions that are imposed on us and others. To not even be consulted is entirely unacceptable.

“Our staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure we comply with the varied and numerous pandemic directives and protocols from Scottish Government, the SFA and the SPFL. 

“Quite frankly, our staff and supporters deserve greater respect from Scottish football’s decision-makers who threaten their livelihoods and our club with decisions which we believe are ill-thought through and poorly communicated.”

The Premiership will be exempt from the suspension, provided it continues to adhere to the stringent testing protocols, and the Championship will also be able to continue, provided it commences weekly testing.

The impacted leagues are: SPFL League One, SPFL League Two, Scottish Women’s Football Premier Leagues One and Two, Highland League, Lowland League, East, West and South of Scotland Leagues, Scottish Junior FA Leagues and the North Caledonian League.

Rules which allow professional sport to continue are to be reviewed after Celtic’s controversial training camp in Dubai.

Club manager Neil Lennon, his assistant John Kennedy and 13 players are self-isolating after defender Christopher Julien tested positive for coronavirus following a winter training camp in Dubai.

Deans acknowledged that football has been granted unique concessions during the pandemic but said “recent failures” had brought those concessions into focus.

In a statement released by Falkirk, Deans did not directly acknowledge Celtic’s trip but said: “Unfortunately, only some clubs (namely those in League One and Two and those outside the SPFL) have been made to carry the can for those failings, whilst those in the upper reaches of the league pyramid have been allowed to continue on top of having been rewarded disproportionately with Scottish Government funding.”