Dundee United fans’ group ArabTRUST is urging Fifa to follow Scottish football’s lead and support clubs financially-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Uncertainty hangs over our game after the SFA and SPFL shut down Scottish football amid the crisis.
The move is likely to leave a financial black hole for clubs who survive on gate receipts.
With few having budgeted for such a situation, ArabTRUST chair Susan Batten is calling on global football governing body Fifa to step in after the SFA injected £1.5 million into the game.
“The whole coronavirus situation is going to have a huge impact on finances for clubs,” she said.
“There are teams living week to week and, apart from perhaps Rangers and Celtic, everyone else struggles and lives within their means, largely through gate receipts.
“Nobody wants to see any team folding.
“We must see funding from as far up as Fifa to help teams out the same way the government is helping businesses.
“We don’t want to lose teams.
“They might not be feeling it now but they still have wages to pay and, with people unlikely to buy season tickets, we hope people at all levels in football don’t lose jobs because of it.”
As for United’s situation, Batten hopes American owner Mark Ogren can help keep them afloat while also revealing there are no plans for the trust to provide financial aid, at this time.
She added: “It impacts the ArabTRUST’s activity as well. We try to raise money for the club but, without Tannadice being open, we can’t access our stalls on matchdays to sell merchandise.
“We are still able to generate some money online but this situation has had a huge impact on everybody’s purse strings.
“Mark Ogren is keeping the club afloat and I’m sure the club will already have its budget set for next season.
“In terms of fans supporting the club, it’s too early to assess that type of thing. The club was in a bad place before the Ogrens but we have moved on from that.
“Hopefully, the decision made by the governing bodies is the right one.”
Doubt has also been cast over the Terrors’ future on the park with the SFA and SPFL yet to reveal a resolution for the current season.
Voiding the season and league reconstruction are on the table.
However, as much as they are open to the latter, Batten says ArabTRUST backs the club’s stance on finishing the season any way they can with United on the cusp of promotion.
“It’s, obviously, disappointing but the coronavirus is bigger than us,” she added.
“People’s lives are at risk, they need to be safe and football must take secondary importance.
“From a supporter’s perspective, it’s disappointing with where we are in the league but decisions need to be made by the governing bodies.
“We need to wait for the outcome from meetings of the SFA and SPFL.
“There is talk of the league being made null and void but that is something we don’t want to happen.
“Of course, we have earned our position at the top of the table but we want to win the league on merit.
“We have been down in the Championship for four years now and we don’t like the idea of another year because of what has happened.
“It’s a vicious circle if we win the league simply because we are top right now and Hearts are relegated because they are bottom of the Premiership.
“The league should be played out, if they can. If it’s behind closed-doors, then so be it – as long as everyone is safe.
“Another, preferable, solution would be for the league to be
reconstructed so we go up and Hearts, for instance, are able to stay up.
“That would make it fair for
everyone involved and it would also make Scottish football a bit more exciting having more teams in the league. Hopefully, that is an option that would be considered.”