Decision on fans in stadiums ‘political not clinical’

Mike Mulraney says some clubs will go bust without financial help.

Decision on fans in stadiums ‘political not clinical’ Pixabay

The SFA vice-president has called the decision not to allow football fans back into stadiums “political and not clinical”.

Mike Mulraney, who is also chairman of Alloa, made the claim on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday.

During a discussion involving SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster, Mulraney said that it would be “foolhardy to assume some clubs won’t go bust” without fans or financial help.

Doncaster agreed with Mulraney and also cited mental health issues among supporters as a reason to allow fans back.

He said: “The government understands the severity of the wider problems.”

Comparisons were made with shopping centres and restaurants as pundits including Neil McCann and Michael Stewart debated the issue.

However Scotland’s clinical medical director Jason Leitch dismissed the claims.

He said: “It is absolutely not a political decision, incorrect.

“It is a choice made by clinicians and decision makers.

“You simply can’t open everything, everybody who isn’t open will want it to reopen and who can blame them.

“If I owned a football club, a soft play, a casino or whatever I would want those things open. You can’t have it all. That is the public health message, because then the virus will accelerate out of control.

“No country is back to normal, so therefore there are choices based on clinical risk and decision making, and the decision makers have to choice inside a whole complex of clinical advice, economical advice, social advice about what you can and can’t open.

“These are tough choices but the world cannot yet go back to normal.”

Fans have been locked out of football in Scotland ever since the nationwide lockdown was first introduced in March.

Despite two trial games earlier in the season, plans to start allowing a small percentage of supporters back have been shelved again after the country seen another upturn in coronavirus cases.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said:“We recognise this has been an enormously challenging time for football and other spectator sports and we appreciate the support of supporters, clubs and authorities over recent months to help us tackle the virus.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work closely with the governing bodies of Scottish football to ensure its long-term sustainability. We are also awaiting clarity on whether there will be consequentials arising from UK Government funding.

“This sport has a significant economic impact, but importantly it also brings enjoyment to the many people who watch and play, and we don’t want supporters to be delayed in returning to stadiums for any longer than is absolutely necessary.

“However, as the First Minister has said, the virus has not gone away and we all need to keep working to protect the NHS and public services, and help keep people safe. If cases continue to rise, be in no doubt, there will be further deaths due to COVID-19. We must do all we can to prevent that. ”

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