OPINION - Bill Shankly was wrong. Football is not more important than life or death. Nothing is.
What is going to happen if the Scottish Football season comes to a premature end?
That is the question everyone is asking after the Scottish Football Association called the season to a halt on Friday as a result of the coronavirus.
Football at all levels, Premiership, Championship, Highland League, North Caledonian League, even the Inverness and District Amateur Football Association will be affected as the game is suspended in a bid to control this outbreak.
Firstly, the SFA made the right decision to bring games to a halt and nobody should question the reason why.
Public health is paramount, the sooner this virus is under control, which is taking people’s lives, the better.
But it will pass, and what will happen to the football season when it does?
That all depends on when it is ruled safe for large gatherings people to get together again.
If it is allowed to start up again in April, then it should be possible to complete the season, albeit play two matches a week at least.
But if it gets towards May, will it be worth to call the season to an end?
The suspension is set to become a financial burden on clubs, calling the season to an end and paying out prize money to clubs may provide some relief.
But what about next season?
Is it really fair to relegate teams when the season couldn’t be completed?
Is it fair to scrap the play-offs and deny teams the chance of promotion?
If the season does come to an end, should the Premiership be extended to 14 teams next season?
One scenario would be to spare Hearts being relegated with Dundee United going up as champions from the Championship along with the second place team, which happens to be Caley Thistle.
Two games home and away would be 26 games. Split the league in two, two home and away games in the top six and bottom six would be 12 more games which would come to 38.
Make the Championship 14 teams next season with six teams up from League One with the same format as the Premiership.
Then make League One 16 teams with no relegation from League Two with the Highland League and Lowland League champions automatically coming up without play-offs.
Two games home and away, then top eight and bottom eight playing each other once would be 37 games.
That’s just one suggestion, there will be a whole lot more offered, and have already been offered to find a solution.
But it looks like next season will have to adapt in the aftermath of the coronavirus in some form if football does not resume soon.
But football should only resume once it is safe to do so.
Bill Shankly was wrong. Football is not more important than life or death. Nothing is.