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Peterhead boss Jim McInally urges Scottish Government to provide clarity on when fans can return to football

Peterhead manager Jim McInally.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally believes assurances about crowds returning to stadiums are vital for clubs when it comes to planning for the new season.

Lower-league clubs such as Peterhead are set to return to action on October 6 in the Betfred League Cup with the Championship, League 1 and League 2 campaigns scheduled to begin 11 days later.

The Blue Toon are finalising a budget for the new season, but McInally says that – although the indications from government have been positive – it’s difficult when there’s no certainty about whether fans will be allowed to come through the turnstiles in October or if clubs can host hospitality.

The Buchan outfit is not going to start season tickets until the fixture list for the new term has been released.

McInally said: “I know it’s a difficult situation, but if we are going to be starting in October we need to know sooner rather than later if we can have a crowd.

“I’m not disrespecting coronavirus or anyone that has been ill as a result of it, but I just don’t understand how you can go and sit inside in a pub, but you can’t go to a football match outside. If we’ve got to wear masks in shop,s why couldn’t supporters be allowed back into games if they wear a mask?

“To a certain extent now I think people are playing about with the game.

“I’m not being political, but the UK Government have been fantastic because if it wasn’t for the furlough scheme then I think there would be many Championship, League 1 and League 2 teams out of business.

“Now we need the help of the Scottish Government to encourage us to sell season tickets by letting us know if we’ll have crowds.

“I know there are clubs selling season tickets and signing players and I know at some point we’ll need to get our finger out and sign players, but the whole situation doesn’t sit easily with me.”

With lack of certainty about the return of crowds because of the risk of a second spike, McInally’s club is being prudent.

He added: “I’m seeing clubs giving out two-year deals. I’m left thinking do they know something that we don’t know or are they just gambling?

“I’m not sure we can gamble on the club’s future. If what’s happened in the past six months is not a warning to people then I don’t know what is.”

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