Mike Mulraney: SFA vice-president says ‘foolhardy’ to think all clubs will survive

Mike Mulraney confirmed all of Alloa’s players will be offered a contract of some kind for next season

It is “foolhardy” to believe every SPFL club will survive the coronavirus shutdown, says Scottish FA vice-president Mike Mulraney.

The Alloa Athletic owner “hopes” rather than “expects” football can return in August or September, and says his club have “war-gamed” plans for a season without fans or even any games at all.

Mulraney warned football next term “might not be something we recognise”.

“We will sink or swim together,” he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Sportsound.

“Do I think that there is a realistic danger of us losing clubs at all level of Scottish football? I think anyone who does not believe that is foolhardy.

“We have had to look at what shape football will take – and it won’t be a starting pistol and everybody starts playing football again on day one.”

Scottish FA doctor John MacLean told BBC Scotland on Saturday that a timescale for football’s return in the autumn was not “a million miles away”.

Mulraney says the doctor’s briefings to the Scottish FA and SPFL’s joint response group forced them “to face up to some of the stark realities much earlier” and that they needed “Scottish answers to Scottish problems”.

“It’s clearly going to be a long and difficult journey,” said the Scottish Championship club chairman. “Alloa’s business model allows us to change quickly, and it’s the same for many part-time clubs.

“The full-time clubs are going to be presented with problems that are very, very significant. Some of our larger clubs are going to face some real, real searching questions over the coming months.”

Mulraney said part-time clubs are better place to survive than their full-time counterparts

SPFL row is ‘white noise’

This week, Rangers are expected to release evidence of “a lack of fair play” over the SPFL’s ballot to end the lower -league seasons, before an extraordinary general meeting of the 42 members on 12 May.

Mulraney believes everyone involved in football will have regrets over some of the things they have done during the crisis and says the “open wound” in Scottish football needs to be healed.

However, he said the row was “white noise – like me and four other baldy guys fighting over a comb” and is detracting from making sure all 42 SPFL sides survive the shutdown.

“Everybody lobbies,” he said of the claims around the vote. “There were some robust discussions on all sides of the argument. Do I feel I was bullied? I’m a bit big and long in the tooth to feel bullied by anybody.

“Did I see anybody else being bullied? No. Did I see anything coming from the SPFL executive? Nothing. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I can only tell you what I saw.”

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