Fixture backlog dilemma for SPL

18 December 2010 07:30

Scottish Premier League secretary Iain Blair admitted he could not remember such a fixture backlog so early in the season after another four matches were postponed.

Fifteen games have now been lost to the snowy and freezing conditions over the past four weekends with just one of those, Motherwell's defeat by Hearts, subsequently going ahead. Blair would not rule out the prospect of the season being extended and he admitted there was already little room for manoeuvre in the calendar.

"I certainly don't remember quite so much congestion by this stage in the season previously," Blair told BBC Scotland.

"There is still some flexibility in the calendar in terms of getting matches played midweek. We can schedule matches up against the Champions League and the Europa League. It's not something we like to do but that is a possibility.

"There is a real difficulty in terms of those matches that are scheduled in that way, we're simply not allowed by UEFA for those to be broadcast live so there are issues then about talking to the broadcasters about the best way to resolve the whole situation.

"It's a difficult situation, only a fool would say that it wasn't but if we were to get the matches played reasonably regularly from now on then I think we can cope with it."

Only two matches - Kilmarnock's victory over Hibernian and a draw between Inverness and Hearts - took place on Saturday following more snow across Scotland.

Blair added: "The unknown at this point is progress in terms of the Scottish Cup for all the Premier clubs, because they only come in in January, and obviously we've still got Rangers in Europe and hopefully they will continue to be in Europe for some time.

"What actually happens is that the opportunity to slot games in reduces and there does come a point at which you think, 'well the only way we can do this is by extending the season'. It's not something we're looking at this point in time. But if there's severe congestion and no other alternatives then it's something we have done once before.

"But before we get to that stage, we would consider things such as having four games in eight days, which we try and avoid doing. We had a situation where Dunfermline had to play four games in a week, I know it happened to Rangers in 2008 and it has happened on one or two other occasions."

Source: PA