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Stranraer boss Stevie Farrell calls for Scottish football reboot

Scottish football should use the coronavirus crisis as a time to reboot, according to Stranraer boss Stevie Farrell.

The League One club like every other in Scotland is closed down due to the pandemic with no firm date for its resumption.

Speculation about if or when the season restarts and what shape next term will take abounds but Farrell, who works in the employment law and employee contracts field by day, believes all the stakeholders in the game should adopt a pro-active attitude.

He told the PA news agency: “I don’t see any hope that any football will come back this season.

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“People need to fully understand that there is going to be a work-through as to what the new season will look like when it comes back.

“And I don’t see that happening in weeks either. I think we are looking at a long period of uncertainty in football.

“As a country in general, we have a habit at times of making impetuous decisions, we make reactive decisions or we make what I describe as retrospective decisions.

“We very rarely get an opportunity to be pro-active and I think there is an opportunity to be pro-active.

“There is an opportunity at this time for meaningful consultation between stakeholders, the clubs, players, sponsors, television, and look at every single option that is available that will repair our game from this and move forward.

Stevie Farrell, far right, manages Stranraer

Stevie Farrell, far right, manages Stranraer (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Rather than sit it out, wait and see what happens, and at the end of it, we then say, ‘what do we do now?'”

Farrell revealed all his part-time squad are out of contract in the middle of June, one reason why he believes there are inherent problems with waiting for months in order to finish the current season.

He said: “People will say the league should be finished regardless. I don’t disagree with that concept and that is everybody’s ideal position but I think you are going to have a real problem extending the league.

“Most part-time clubs will look at one-year deals so most of the part-time fraternity will be out of contract in June.

“If you extend the season I would suggest most players would not be amenable to short-term contracts. Players will rightfully look for longer contracts.

“So employment legislation and contractual law will prevent that from happening.”

On a more positive note, Farrell welcomed the news that the government, in a radical move aimed at protecting jobs, has said it will pay 80 per cent of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, up to £2,500 a month.

He said: “I think football clubs will be subject to that because I think it is an essential business.

“If that is the case that is going to have a fundamental bearing on the survival of many football clubs in this country, thankfully.

“We need to get the finite details for that but it will go a long way in the short term to keep clubs’ heads above water.”