Maybe it’s a great way to prevent the Rangers post Dubai collapse, but the SPFL’s plan to scrap the winter break will lead to a chaotic fixture list for Celtic.
There are no great surprises here. We know the next season will start late. We know there are still some cup games to finish off, including the Rangers as yet unplayed Europa cup game against Bayer Leverkausen. There’s the Betfred cup to fit in and European qualifiers scheduled for August too. And there’s no real opportunity to extend the end of the season.
And we haven’t even factored in potential winter issues causing games to be called off due to bad weather. They’ll maybe need to turn on the under pitch heating and get some rain covers at Ibrox this season to avoid call offs. That all means huge pressure on scheduling fixtures.
Glasgow Live report that SPFL league secretary Ian Blair has warned:
“The stress on the SPFL fixture calendar next season is going to be enormous, with a real risk that some clubs will be forced to play four games in eight days, which we always try to avoid.
“We have already been obliged to cancel the winter break next season because we absolutely needed those extra three potential match dates, but even with that, I think it is going to be tighter than at any time in my 22 years working for the SPFL.”
Blair is busy working with club secretaries to explain the problems and how the SPFL are trying to mitigate this.
There are also ramifications for the national team with the SFA asking for postponements around the time of international matches. Scotland have a great opportunity to progress via Nations League play-offs in early October and early November. But that free space in the schedule looks impossible. Blair will also need to work closely with Sky re moving matches to accommodate tv commitments around those games too.
For the more successful teams and international players, the pressure will be on. More games, less breaks between them, no sunshine recharge of batteries in Dubai, maybe a jog or two on Saltcoats beach instead!
A deep squad with plenty of committed, experienced and fit players will definitely timely be needed to get through this next season successfully. The training schedule at Lennoxtown will also need much thought to help prepare rather than fatigue players during this extra busy period.