Andrew Rafferty with A Celtic State of Mind – Football is not more important than life or death.

The SFA and SPFL announced the immediate suspension of domestic professional and grassroots football as of Friday morning. This decision was one which many fans had thought likely, but perhaps did not welcome. Certainly the feedback on social media among Celtic fans is that the cancellation of Sunday’s Glasgow derby has let the opposition off the hook.

The scientific thinking around cancelling these games is sound. Countries around the world are going into, or coming out of, lockdown. The English game is already riddled with players and staff who have either contracted the virus or have gone in to isolation. It’s only a matter of time before we see the same in Scottish football. The bigwigs in charge have a duty to protect the health and wellbeing of all stakeholders in football, players, staff and fans alike.

One thing that puzzled me in the decision-making process was the u-turn made between Thursday evening and Friday. The message in the evening was that the games this weekend were going ahead. By Friday, despite no protocol from either the UK or Scottish governments, the matches were postponed. Was this the Scottish game simply falling in line with our colleagues down South and around Europe? Whatever the reason, it’s not like the SFA to be involved in a U-turn, is It?

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In many ways, Celtic have been ahead of the curve on this. Our team has been in isolation at the top of the SPFL for a couple of months now, ensuring our nearest rivals “keep their distance” at all times.

Joking aside, there are some serious questions to be answered over the next few weeks.

Will the 2019/20 season be completed in full?

If so, when? And how will this impact the 2020/21 season?

If the season cannot feasibly be completed, how does this impact the awarding of titles and promotion /relegation? And entry to European tournaments?

Will clubs be invited to give input to any future decisions?

What will be the grounds to allow resumption of football at any stage and who makes that call?

There are far more questions than answers at the moment, but these are insignificant when faced with the potential wider social impact.

Someone once said football is more important than life or death. It’s not at the moment!

Stay safe and healthy and treat the next few weeks as an International break.

Andrew Rafferty

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