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Peterhead manager Jim McInally’s restart fears for part-time clubs after latest Covid-19 rule breach

Peterhead manager Jim McInally.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally has concerns about part-time clubs being able to start the new season in the wake of the Premiership’s Covid-19 crisis.

Lower league clubs are scheduled to begin their campaigns on October 6 in the League Cup with the Championship, League One and League Two set to start 11 days later.

In order for the Premiership to restart behind closed doors earlier this month players and staff have been operating within a bio-secure bubbles at training grounds and stadiums.

However, for part-time clubs where players and staff have jobs outside of the game it appears almost impossible for bio-bubbles to be formed.

Having seen protocol breaches at Aberdeen and Celtic McInally is concerned the lower leagues may not be allowed to begin, or if that supporters won’t be able to attend if matches do start – both of which would have dire financial consequences for clubs.

He said: “I do think we need to try to educate the Scottish Government about the problems we’re facing.

“We have got to differentiate the game between part-time and full-time level because the bubble they’re talking about at full-time doesn’t exist at part-time level because everyone has other jobs.

“If it wasn’t for furlough then just about every part-time club would be out of business by now.

“So we need to know if we’ll be able to play and if so if will there be crowds, I’ve spoken to people at other clubs and some of them have said December is as far as they could go if there are no games or no crowds.

“If we’re not going to be able to play and we’re not going to be able to have crowds then we need to be told sooner rather than later and we could call it off.

“There needs to be a serious discussion about this.”

To return to training lower league personnel are expected to be tested for coronavirus twice a week.

McInally doesn’t understand why, when they aren’t in a bubble and will be able to continue their day jobs without being tested.

Scotland’s longest serving manager, who delivers prescriptions for a Dundee pharmacy, added: “Where we are at the minute to restart we’ve got to do something that doesn’t make sense and that’s what I don’t understand.

“I don’t see the reason we should be doing it (testing twice a week) because we’re not in a bubble that full-time teams are in, they’re in a bubble, but we’re not we have to go to our work during the day.

“I can deliver medicine every day without needing a test, but when I’m a part-time football manager I need to be tested twice a week.

“I understand the full-time process, but at part-time level it doesn’t make sense. It would be helpful if we could get a vindication of why we need to do it because it doesn’t make sense.

“Would Jason Leitch (national clinical director) know these situations are the reality in part-time football? Probably not, but I’d be interested to hear what he has to say about it.”

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