WHEN UEFA vice-president Michele Uva revealed over the weekend that it will be down to individual leagues to determine how to end their 2019/20 campaigns, the SPFL seemed to finally get the go-ahead to decide their own fate.

"It's not a matter for us,” said Uva in an interview with Italian broadcasters Sport Mediaset. “It will be up to each league.”

It had been anticipated that the European game’s governing body would issue a decree on what to do going forward, but it now appears likely they will only offer guidance and the SPFL clubs will have to decide what course of action to take themselves.

There are numerous options available to them. Each one has its supporters and each one has its opponents. None is perfect. Whatever route they go down there will be an outcry. So what are the pros and cons of each solution?


PROS – Scrubbing the entire season would end the ongoing uncertainty over the current campaign and allow clubs to concentrate fully on preparing for the 2020/21 season. It would give some clarity on both a financial and a football front. It would also mean that clubs aren’t awarded titles, relegated or promoted before the full programme of fixtures has been completed.

CONS – It is no surprise that the SPFL have already indicated strongly that this will not be happening under any circumstances. Writing off the entire season at this stage would render the 30 games that most clubs have played to date meaningless. A lot of hard-fought victories would be for absolutely nothing.

That would anger fans, broadcasters and sponsors. It could also require millions of pounds of compensation to be paid out for breaching commercial agreements. What, too, would happen to the league handouts? How would payments be decided? Those are vital in this uncertain economic climate.

Which clubs would go forward into the Champions League and Europa League? The previous season’s qualifiers? That would be farcical. It is a non-starter.


PROS – Again, this would also enable clubs to draw a line under this term and look ahead. The Ladbrokes Premiership could start afresh later in the year when the suspension is lifted, whenever that happens, having put the ordeal firmly in the past.

It would be hard to argue with Celtic, who are 13 points clear in the Premiership, of Dundee United, who are 14 points ahead in the Championship, being named champions of their respective leagues given how they have dominated those divisions.

CONS – Tainted titles. Declaring Celtic the Premiership champions when they still have eight games left to play would, given the nature of football in this country, lead to their achievement being dismissed and derided by their rivals’ fans for years to come. Rangers have already warned about the impact it would have on sporting integrity.

It wouldn’t go down well at Ibrox. They can potentially still catch and overtake the league leaders. Falkirk, who are a point behind Raith Rovers in League One, wouldn’t be best pleased either.

Then there is relegation. Hearts, who have admitted they are facing a precarious financial future, are four points behind with eight games left and 24 points to play for and could easily haul themselves out of their dire predicament.

They have threatened legal action if they go down. Other clubs could do the same. Costly and protracted court battles are the last thing needed at a time when money is tight and there are so many other complex issues to be addressed.

And what would happen to the play-offs? Are they done away with this year? Hamilton and Livingston have secured lucrative sports in the top flight via that route in the past. It would be tough on the likes of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Falkirk, Airdrie and Edinburgh City.

Swift league reconstruction, and a 14 team top flight, could help. But that was rejected years ago and wouldn’t satisfy everyone.


PROS – Titles, promotion and relegation would all be settled fairly after playing the requisite number of games. There would be no dubiety or acrimony about who wins trophies and who drops down a division. Clubs will have the chance to go up or fight for survival via the play-offs as well. Pay outs and European places would accurately reflect sporting performance.

CONS – The coronavirus crisis would impact on next season long after the Covid-19 outbreak ends. Would the 2020/21 game comprise 38 matches? Or less? Would, as has been suggested, the Betfred Cup and William Hill Scottish Cup be played out as normal. Or would they be diminished competitions? If so, how would that impact on broadcasting deals and sponsorship agreements?

Medical experts have also warned that the pandemic could return when seasonal flus kick in this November? If there is another shutdown then the schedule could be disrupted again. It would drag on for months, years even.

There is also a chance that entirely different sides will be involved in crucial matches as many players’ contracts will expire at the end of June and new signings will be brought in. That would hardly be fair. UEFA is examining extending contracts. But how would that be legally enforceable?

And who goes forward into Champions League and the Europa League? The qualifiers could kick off before the league is completed.