Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has warned against “merging seasons” when football resumes after the coronavirus outbreak.
Football authorities in Scotland and across the world face difficult decisions over how to close off current campaigns and schedule the subsequent season, with international competitions adding to the complexities.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has called for current placings to be recognised if the Scottish league season cannot be finished. But at least one other top-flight club will push for the campaign to be declared null and void in that scenario, a move that could lead to major financial complications with broadcasters for example.
Hearts are reported to be considering legal action if they are consigned to relegation with eight games remaining, while other clubs would also hold grievances.
🎥 An update from the manager.— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) March 16, 2020
Gerrard believes patience needs to be shown with football playing second fiddle to the health and financial implications of the pandemic.
“Players’ welfare is paramount right now,” he told Rangers TV when asked how he can plan for a long delay. We are doing everything we can from a medical point of view, putting all the right precautions in place.
“I am in regular contact with the board and the club on a daily basis to see what happens.
“But I think we have to trust the authorities to try and find the right solutions.
“I’m not one who thinks we should be merging seasons and this type of stuff because that has different types of problems for the players, playing too much football in a short space of time.
“I think we have got to be patient. Football is secondary right now.
“What we have to do is just do everything we can at the training ground and the club to protect the players so they don’t contract the virus, because then it has a lot more complications.”
When asked how football solves the problem, Gerrard said: “To be honest I don’t have the answers but what I would say is football is about supporters. The reason I joined Rangers was to coach in front of the wonderful support we have got.
“I know all the players feel the same way. I don’t think the right thing to do is all of a sudden play all the games behind closed doors. I don’t think that’s fair at all.
“So we have to wait, we have to be patient, and let’s hope at some point there is a solution found.”
The 39-year-old added: “It’s very much a time where football has to become secondary. People’s lives are at risk, people’s businesses are at risk.
“There are many more important things, much more important, than football right now. But of course it’s having a huge impact not just for us at Rangers, but every club around the world.
“But for me it’s very much a time where we all need to stick together, think about our own families first and foremost, and certainly put football second.
“We have to be patient. This is a virus that is spreading very, very quickly around the world. I think we have a duty of care first and foremost for our own families and then our own people at Rangers and our supporters, and obviously wider society as well.
“It’s very much just do everything you can to take precautionary measures to help the virus not spreading any quicker than it is.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.