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Motherwell chief Alan Burrows admits to Coronavirus financial concern

Motherwell chief Alan Burrows admits to Coronavirus financial concern
© Reuters
The SFA and the SPFL have suspended all football in the country.

Scotland's clubs will have to wait days before they can survey the extent of the financial damage wreaked by the coronavirus outbreak, Motherwell chief Alan Burrows has warned.

Well's Friday night Fir Park showdown with Aberdeen was the first game to be postponed after the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League announced an immediate shutdown in response to the pandemic threat.

But the Steelmen's chief executive officer Burrows already fears the worst.

Clubs in Scotland remain heavily reliant upon gate receipts, with on average 43 per cent of turnover generated through the turnstiles.

Now Burrows admits many clubs could find their balance sheet under pressure with domestic action suspended "until further notice".

"I think it's a concern for all clubs," he told the PA news agency. "The biggest one – and this is no-one's particular fault – is the lack of proper clarity at the moment.

"We got some today from the SFA and SPFL regarding this weekend's games and that was welcome. But what clubs need now is even more clarity about what happens next, as quickly as possible.

"Because with clarity comes the ability to make decisions to try to mitigate as much as possible against anything negative happening to the business.

"The worst thing, by far, is not knowing what's around the corner and being left in a state of flux.

"For everybody's sake, and without short-circuiting the process, I think we need some clear decisions on things like dates and any legislation so that clubs can start to manage the situation.

"That needs to be the priority over the next few days.

"No matter the size of club, I don't think there are any in Scotland who don't agree this won't be an easy time."

As a fan-run club, Motherwell's budgets are tightly drawn each year.

The Steelmen are due to host Kilmarnock next weekend but Burrows admits he is still in the dark about just how many staff they will need on duty even next week.

He said: "We're in a wait-and-see stage right now, but I still think it was the right decision to postpone this weekend's games.

"We've had a contingency plan in place for a couple of days. As well as reminding players and staff of the medical advice from the various government agencies, we had also put plans in place ahead of the Aberdeen game should it have gone ahead.

"For example, we had drawn up some guidelines around the players' interactions with fans and mascots. We had installed up to 40 new hand sanitisers and things like that.

"We have carried out a risk assessment designed to minimise the number of staff having to gather around the same place or office. Those are things we will continue to do over the next few days.

"Obviously it's the weekend now so the players and staff will be off, but what happens next will frame our approach.

"The pace of this is moving quickly and hopefully we have information about what's happening around the games next week even as early as Monday.

"Who knows what will happen. I can tell you that in the last 24 hours this has moved at a massive rate of knots.

"But what happens with the fixtures will determine what we have to do as a club. If there is a game on next Saturday – and we still don't know for sure if there will or won't be – then that impacts on who needs to be at Fir Park and what they're doing.

"You've got the players, their support staff, but also people like the chefs and other staff who are required to get a game on. Right now, I don't know who will be needed and who won't be."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CCeltic30262289197080
2RangersRangers29214464194567
3Motherwell30144124138346
4Aberdeen3012994036445
5Livingston30109114139239
6Hibernian30910114249-737
7St Johnstone2981292846-1836
8Kilmarnock3096153141-1033
9St Mirren3078152441-1729
10Ross County3078152960-3129
11Hamilton AcademicalHamilton3069153050-2027
RHearts30411153152-2123

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