SPFL Formally Requests Emergency Meeting with First Minister

League Warns Failure to Mirror English Fans’ Return Will ‘Sound Death Knell’

The SPFL has today written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking for an emergency meeting to end the lock-out of fans across the country.

Following the announcement that clubs in England have been given the green light to welcome fans back, the SPFL’s chief executive Neil Doncaster has issued a direct appeal to the First Minister on behalf of the country’s 42 professional clubs (see attached letter) to very quickly let Scottish fans back into stadia in carefully-managed, meaningful numbers.

Mr Doncaster said: “Scottish football fans are the most passionate in Europe, with more league attendances per capita than any other country, so our clubs have been hit far harder by the lock-out than those in England because we depend much more heavily on gate receipts.

“Every major club in Scotland has very detailed, well-founded plans in place for safely returning fans back to stadiums, and thousands upon thousands of Scottish fans are simply desperate to get back quickly to watching their teams in the safety of a carefully-managed, open-air environment.

“We are now calling on the First Minister to do the right thing by Scotland’s hard-pressed football supporters. If it’s good enough for English fans, it must be good enough for Scottish fans. 

“If the First Minister refuses to allow football fans all over Scotland to watch their beloved teams in carefully-regulated, limited numbers, complete with track and trace, she will have to explain to them the clinical difference between Scottish fans and English fans. 

“Make no mistake, failure to get fans back in the very near future will sound the death knell for some of our best-loved clubs and no-one wants that.

“The First Minister alone has the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of Scottish football fans and give them a much-needed early Christmas present and we are calling for meaningful, urgent engagement.

“Despite the enormous financial consequences, our clubs have followed every directive and every instruction from the Scottish Government for month after month. Clubs, supporters and players have been hugely patient. Apart from supporter safety, there is no higher priority for our game. It’s now time to get the fans back.

“We have written to the First Minister seeking an emergency meeting, because time is really against us. We will meet with her at any time, day or night, to fit in with her busy schedule and we await her response.

“The clubs have done the hard work of putting their plans in place for the safe return of fans in limited numbers. All we need now is for the First Minister to say ‘Yes’.”

ND/MS
25 November 2020

The Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP
First Minister of Scotland
The Scottish Government
St Andrew’s House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

Dear First Minister

From your enthusiastic reaction to the magnificent achievement of the men’s Scottish national team earlier this month, it’s clear you share a passion for our game.

I am sure you are equally keen to safeguard the very future of Scotland’s national sport, which has been hit far harder by the lock-out than south of the border because it depends much more heavily on gate receipts.

For almost nine months, and despite the enormous financial consequences, our clubs have fastidiously followed every directive and every instruction from your Government. Clubs, supporters and players have been hugely patient as we have played our full part in the national effort to combat coronavirus.

However, with the very welcome news that clubs in England are being allowed to bring back fans in limited numbers, we are seeking urgent talks with you to ensure that Scottish clubs, and Scottish fans are permitted to do the same in very short order.

As you will know, every major club in Scotland has very detailed, well-founded plans in place for safely returning fans back to stadiums. Thousands upon thousands of Scottish fans are simply desperate to get back to watching their teams in the safety of a carefully-managed, open-air environment. Apart from supporter safety, there is no higher priority for our game.

It’s now time to get the fans back.

Scottish football is on its knees and clubs big and small the length and breadth of the country are in the most dire straits, with income projected to drop by £100 million this season alone.

Failure to get fans back in the very near future will sound the death knell for some of our best loved clubs, which would be a tragedy on many levels, given the enormous contribution they make to the economic, cultural and community life of our nation. No-one wants that to happen.


You alone have the chance to put a much-needed smile on the faces of millions of Scottish football fans, giving them an early Christmas present by quickly approving the carefully managed return of fans across the country.

The response amongst Scottish supporters to the news about English football fans returning has been resounding and, having taken extensive soundings at all levels of our game, I have been asked to request an emergency meeting with you, because time is really against us.


Together with senior representatives from our clubs, we are entirely at your disposal. We will meet with you under any circumstances, remotely or in person, day or night, to fit in with your busy schedule and we eagerly await your response.

Yours sincerely

Neil Doncaster
Chief Executive

Jim – We have set an unwanted record

Jim – We have set an unwanted record

Peterhead manager Jim McInally reckons that the Blue Toon have created an unwanted record this season by having to make substitutions for injuries in the first half hour in more than half of their games so far. 

The tone was set in their opening day fixture at Tannadice against Dundee United in the Betfred Cup when Josh Mulligan limped off after 9 minutes with Ben Armour having to come off with a minute more played in their next game against Brechin City. 

Simon Ferry suffered a hamstring injury after half an hour in the Balmoor side’s opening league game at Airdrie and after four games where no first half replacements were made the jinx has returned. 

In the Betfred game against St Johnstone 11 days ago Armour left early again with Ferry lasting only 13 minutes in Saturday’s 1-0 league success over Dumbarton with Jim saying: “I have never known a run like this before. We have had injuries all season that have affected our starting line-up, and therefore we are going in short and then having to change our plans really quickly.” 

“Sometimes we have been making changes up on the spot as we have been losing players so early in games and need to get someone on. To have to do that in five games so far must be some sort of unwanted record.” 

Jim added: “We have had six different central defensive pairings so far in only 9 games and against Dumbarton at the weekend we ended up with one of our best midfielders this season, Andrew McCarthy, at right back after just 13 minutes.” 

“Our players deserve credit for adapting so quickly and winning on Saturday.” 

© Craig Stewart/ Peterhead Football Club

Revolving door continues at training

Revolving door continues at training

The Peterhead squad get back together tonight to start their preparations for Saturday’s home game with Forfar Athletic with manager Jim McInally again juggling with players dropping in and dropping out of his plans.

The good news is that Gary MacKenzie is back and should be available for selection if he comes through training tonight with Jason Brown also out to impress after missing Saturday’s 1-0 win over Dumbarton due to suspension.

Missing out tonight is Simon Ferry who suffered an ankle injury on Saturday and Isaac Layne who picked up a knee problem after slipping against the Sons with Jim saying: “Simon’s injury is a different one to the one he suffered earlier this season. He needs to rest it and hopefully that will get him back soon. Isaac will miss out until we get a better understanding of his knee injury. It is not the knee he had surgery on a couple of years ago so it could well be just a minor knock.”

“Neither player is in my plans for Forfar.”

Also missing training tonight is on-loan Lyall Cameron who is involved in a bounce game with Dundee and on-loan Dundee United defender Kieran Freeman who is sitting out as a precaution after a tight hamstring.

Jim added: “Injuries are a theme of this season so far however to be fair everyone is just getting on with things. The players are giving everything they can when they are on the pitch and no-one can ask for more than that.”

© Craig Stewart/ Peterhead Football Club

PETERHEAD FC GARY MCKENZIE