Scotland dutifully fulfilled their obligations last night and beat Czechia …or as many plague free Czechs as could be summoned at short notice…and the SFA blew a sigh of relief that it’s all in the past now.
I’ve genuinely got no idea what the score was because I couldn’t care less.
What does concern me is that a plane load of people are returning home today with no idea whether or not they are bringing back more than a couple of t shirts and an I Love Olomounoc mug.
Yesterday, Celtic Quick News, presumably back in favour as the main voice on social media of Peter Lawwell, roundly condemned the decision to play the game, just a little more passionately than Lawwell, but taking the same line….
There is every chance you do not know if tonight’s Czech Republic – Scotland game is competitive or a friendly (it’s Nations League, so somewhere in-between), but, like me, you will be concerned that during European qualification, several Celtic players will take the field against the remaining Czechs who have not tested positive for Covid.
This disease has an incubation period of up to 14 days. The Czechs have lost their first team due to infection and we now roll the dice hoping there has been no cross-contamination around Czech football circles in recent days.
Nothing about this is right. The Nations League should have been one of the many things we have sacrificed due to the pandemic. It required international travel and sporting bubbles to be mix. What happened to the Czechs following their win over Slovakia on Friday will have consequences for both nations and for clubs across the continent. I know the SFA are far from competent at most things, but the issue here lies at Uefa.
What struck me was the deflection of blame to UEFA, who also got it in the neck from Keith Jackson of the Record, presumably arguing with Stephen McGowan of the Mail over who gets to sit closest to Lawwell at dinner time…
To be fair to Maxwell and the Blazerati, the SFA have their own house very much in order where coronavirus protocols are concerned thanks in no small part to the diligence and professionalism of Dr John MacLean.
So even though they were being effectively forced by UEFA to enter one of Europe’s hot-spots, there was complete confidence – or as close as there can be in these unprecedented times – that MacLean’s strict measures would keep Clarke and his players safe inside their own bio-secure bubble.
That’s precisely why they were granted government permission to make this trip without having to go into self quarantine on their return to Glasgow.
But what Scotland’s doc could have no control over, however, was the outbreak inside the Czech Republic’s own camp which has created one almighty cluster-fuddle around tonight’s showdown in Olomouc.
That UEFA waded in with such force on Saturday morning, when the Czech FA was threatened with all manner of punitive sanctions – including an enormous cash fine – if they failed to fulfil the fixture, shows what this is really all about.
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s all about the pounds and the pence as far as European football’s greed-is-good governing body is concerned.
Since this health crisis began UEFA has been paralysed by a terrible fear. Not for the danger to public health or even that of players across the continent. But for the catastrophic impact it might have on its bulging Swiss bank account should TV companies around the world start trying to claw their money back.
That’s why they went to such extraordinary lengths to complete last season’s Champions League and Europa League campaigns behind closed doors when the rest of us were still locked in the house.
Rod Petrie and Ian Maxwell of the SFA didn’t go to Czechia.
They did , however, as part of their SFA duties, insist that players, management and staff did travel, as the show must go on.
No one, not in football, not in industry and not in their private lives, should ever make anyone do anything that they are not prepared to do themselves , especially if it involves exposure to a highly transmissible virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the world.
Whilst Lawwell has commendably expressed concern and demanded assurances, one wonders what Bob Kelly would have done.
Actually, one doesn’t have to wonder…he’d have simply told them that no one from Celtic would be a part of this clusterfuck, if, indeed, clusterfuck was a word back then.
The SFA are being aided and abetted again by the media and are shifting the blame to UEFA for this mess, and any possible consequences.
Is that because of criticism from Lawwell, possibly via social media, and is he finally starting to get tired of their bullshit ?
By the way, one or two replies to the diary yesterday implied that the Coronavirus is a hoax, and we are all wearing masks because it’s all a big conspiracy.
If I see them before they are on the site, they will be deleted.
If I have time later, they will be deleted.
I’m not going to take the chance that someone out there will read it and think that it is in any way representative of what is really going on.
There is a plague out there that is killing people. And anyone who thinks otherwise should volunteer to change the bed linen in a covid ward, because they are clearly safe and everybody in there is just lollygagging to avoid doing a hard days work down the pit.
Yes, other things kill people as well, such as cancer, and guess what…we tend to carcinogens to decrease our own chances of developing cancer, yet some fucking idiots out there somehow can;t make the leap to the simple fact that wearing a mask, washing your hands and keeping a few feet apart reduces the risk of contracting covid, which is , unlike cancer or heart disease or any other major health problem, highly contagious and completely indiscriminate.
And until we do, it won’t go away.
Until we do, and the virus is back under control, with proper grown ups making proper decisions, then we won’t have a normal life again, and as fed up as we all are of wearing a mask, or washing our hands, as boring as it seems to be to keep reading about the disease, we cannot move on until then.
Indeed, we’ll be moving backwards, back to no football, no travelling, no fucking nothing, in fact, and please, forgive me if I cast doubt upon this get the economy moving shite as well, because as any fool knows the market simply adapts to demand, as we have seen, and the real threat to the economy doesn’t start until January when we won’t be able to buy the things we don’t make, and won’t be able to sell the things we do….
Fortunately, that won’t really matter because none of us will have any money anyway.
So, I’m sorry if it all seems a little tedious, but thats how it is.
And if you still feel the way you do after reading that, then go and buy a newspaper instead.
They need the readers.
The world has changed, and pretending it hasn’t won;t make it change back.
Yesterday, we had this….
Caption: “I’m confused by this SPFA map. It only has ‘arse’ and ‘hole in the ground’ on it yet it seems they can’t tell one from the other!