Stranraer chairman Iain Dougan: Scottish football needs a more positive focus

Stranraer chairman Iain Dougan says it’s time for Scottish football to set a date for a planned return from its coronavirus hibernation.

Friday, 29th May 2020, 3:33 pm
Stranraer manager Stevie Farrell's hands are tied when it comes to offering new contracts

Football is still reckoned to be some way behind sports like golf, tennis, bowls and angling, which are set to begin emerging from lockdown.

And the Blues supremo reckons the Scottish football community should focus more on what can be done rather than what can’t.

He told the Galloway Gazette: “The strict measures which are in force at the moment are unworkable, with no crowds as such. Once we start giving contracts to players, we need an income.

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“But, if everything goes to plan, and there’s no saying it definitely will, these guidelines might be relaxed.

“If we can get operating at 25 per cent capacity, that’s more than most people’s crowds at our level anyway.

“Testing of players is obviously a concern but that could move on as well, for example, taking a heat reading from somebody’s forehead before they get on the team bus and if they’ve got a temperature, they don’t travel.

“We’re looking at worst case scenarios rather than actually trying to get something in place that, if everything does go to plan, we could start.”

Having a start date would allow clubs such as Stranraer to start looking at offering contracts to players manager Stevie Farrell wants to retain or hopes to bring in.

And the chairman suggests scrapping the first round of league fixtures and kicking off with the Betfred Cup group games played at central hubs.

He said: “There would maybe be a deferred start to the season, for example, starting the Betfred Cup nine weeks behind and have the all the group matches at the ground of the Premier Division club in your section.

“Nine times out of 10, the lower league clubs don’t get through but the prize money for being third or fourth in your group is quite important in the overall picture of a club’s revenue for the season.

“If there’s another spike (in the virus) you can’t do anything about that, but it would give you a hard and fast start date and we go from there straight into the league, playing each other three times.

“Rather than be defeatist, we have to look at what we can do rather than what we can’t.”