Hibs chief Leeann Dempster believes Premiership season should be given a chance to finish

Dempster has called on the SPFL to be “open-minded” regarding the remainder of the Ladbrokes Premiership campaign
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Hibs CEO Leeann Dempster believes playing the remainder of the Scottish Premiership season shouldn’t be ruled out.

The passing of the SPFL’s resolution to conclude the Championship, League One and League Two appeared to pave the way for the Premiership to follow once a Uefa meeting has taken place this week.

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Dempster, who has warned about a meteor headed towards Scottish football, has called on the league to be “open-minded” if there is a chance of completing the 2019/2020 season on the field.

Leeann Dempster reckons the Premiership should be given the chance to finish. Picture: SNSLeeann Dempster reckons the Premiership should be given the chance to finish. Picture: SNS
Leeann Dempster reckons the Premiership should be given the chance to finish. Picture: SNS

It could mean pushing back the start of the 2020/2021 campaign which could already happen with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying the return of fans to the stadium is unlikely anytime soon.

“If we just say it’s not happening, we’re not giving ourselves a chance,” Dempster said.

“It’s going to be hard, we won’t pretend otherwise. But there is no requirement for us to be making decisions now, to call it now. We’ve got some time. It would be too quick to do so. Things are changing all the time and we need to give it every opportunity.

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“If the league was to finish at one point, it might be later in the year than you would expect. If you’re not going to have people in the stadium anyway, why would you be barrelling towards starting next season on August 1 or whenever? It might be that you’ve got some time.

“Could you delay the start of next season and condense it over a shorter period? For example, you could start the new season in September. These are just questions to be asked.

“People are talking about fairness. But we’re in extraordinary times.”

Financial position

Hibs were one of the ten Premiership clubs to back the SPFL resolution with just Hearts and Rangers rejecting the proposal from the top flight.

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Dempster is of the view that what happened with the lower league divisions doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be the same for the Premiership.

She reckons the financial pressure on the 12 teams is not as severe as the 30 in the Championship and Leagues One and Two.

“If you look at the lower league clubs voting to bring their season to an end, it was pretty clear what their direction of travel was,” Dempster said.

“The Premiership is in a slightly different position because I don’t think there’s any significant financial imperative to have our season called quickly.

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“The strength of the game in Scotland is that many of us have organised our finances in a much stronger position than we had a decade ago.

“We are able to give ourselves more thinking time and breathing space. We shouldn’t conclude the season now until we’ve exhausted all possibilities. When we’ve done that, we need to be brave and get on with it.”