Lower league clubs "offered up as martyrs" in wake of Celtic's Dubai trip says Stenny chairman

Stenhousemuir FC chairman Iain McMenemy says he finds the suspension of football below Championship level for the next three weeks “particularly disappointing” and that clubs have been “offered up as martyrs" after Celtic’s controversial trip to Dubai.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 2:51 pm
Iain McMenemy, Chairman Stenhousemuir FC

A statement released by the SFA this afternoon confirmed that all games below the SPFL Championship in the Scottish Football pyramid would be put on hold at least for the next three weeks.

It has come as a major blow for clubs across the country and McMenemy believes these part-time clubs are being punished for the actions of full-time teams despite following the rules strictly.

He said: “I am very disappointed with this decision. Back in the summer, the Scottish FA tried to suggest that there could be more cases of COVID in the lower leagues due the players being part-time and having second jobs. They said this would lead to more games at our level being postponed. Neither of these things happened. When compared to the full-time teams, the COVID spread at all levels of the game has been much the same.

“It feels like the Scottish FA has come under pressure from the Scottish Government to take action following the much maligned trip by Celtic to Dubai, and their response has been to offer up lower league clubs as martyrs instead. I find that approach particularly disappointing.

“As a club we must abide by the decisions taken by the Scottish FA, and we will continue to do what we can to protect jobs and support everyone’s health and wellbeing. Our Community Help Initiative remains in place and the club and volunteers will continue to look after the community with shopping, welfare calls, and our free hot meals service. It definitely feels like we are in a dark place at the moment but we must continue to be there for each other and focus on the positive impact that the vaccine rollout will have.”

The Warriors were due to take on Peterhead in the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night followed by a full fixture card of SPFL League 2 matches but will now be out of action until February at the very earliest.