Fans’ groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland have welcomed the announcement that their respective Euro 2020 play-off finals are to be shown on free-to-air channels on Thursday evening.
Broadcaster Sky will screen Scotland’s clash with Serbia on the Sky Sports Football, Sky One and Pick channels, while the Northern Ireland game against Slovakia will be shown on Sky Sports Premier League and Challenge.
Graeme Baxter from the Association of Tartan Army Clubs said: “Both ATAC and the AONISC had spoken to our respective FAs in August about the desire to see our games made as widely accessible as possible, so the decision by Sky to show Thursday’s matches on free to air channels is brilliant news.”
Gary McAllister from the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs added: “This is a really good decision by Sky. With a limited number of fans allowed into our match against Slovakia and pubs currently closed, this will allow everyone to see the game in their own home and avoid the temptation for people to congregate elsewhere to see the action.”
The decision also means that fans from all four of the UK ‘home nations’ will be able to watch their National Teams on free-to-air television with England against the Republic of Ireland airing on ITV, while Wales’ friendly against the USA will be shown on S4C.
A Scotland fan was writing an article for Scottish Epistles Football Fanzine on the Rosebery colours. One of the things that came out of this was the fact that these colours were worn in the international against England at The Oval in 1881 in which Andrew Watson was the captain, and the first international black football player.
Of course, Watson is also commemorated on the mural at the 1st Hampden (now Hampden Bowling club) for playing in the international against England there the following year which resulted in a 5-1 victory.
Andrew Watson died in 1921 and is buried in Richmond cemetery where his grave has fallen into state of disrepair. A Scotland fan who lives in the area visited the cemetery in 2020 and took pictures of the grave displayed on this site. It struck the Scotland fan, known as Ally, that this was all rather sad – one of Scotland’s most important sporting icons, who is commemorated on a mural at Hampden, who will hopefully be recognised with a permanent statue/memorial in Glasgow and who should be lauded as a pioneer of the game of football, in a unassuming resting place with no indication as to his importance. Surely the very least that should be done is that grave could be tidied up and restored to a more befitting state.
ATAC have kicked off donations with an initial £250 contribution, and we are encouraging people to contribute as much or as little as they want. Please donate what you can. It’s an incredible story.
Son of a wealthy Scottish Sugar planter, Andrew was born in British Guiana, and brought to the UK as a child. He attended school in West Yorkshire and London, before studying philosophy, mathematics and engineering at the University of Glasgow.
After a spell as the star player and match secretary of Glasgow’s Parkgrove FC, he would go on to play for two of the greatest clubs of the nineteenth century; Queen’s Park and Corinthians. A strong and composed full back, Watson won three Scottish Cups and four Glasgow Charity Cups with Queen’s Park and played in the Corinthians side which thrashed FA Cup holders Blackburn Rovers 8-1 in 1883. Swifts in 1882, he also has the accolade of being the first black footballer to play in the FA Cup.
Watson played 3 times for Scotland, captaining the side to a 6-1 victory over England at the Oval in 1881. This result remains England’s heaviest defeat on home soil. He played twice more for Scotland (a 5-1 win against Wales in 1881 and a 5-1 win against England in 1882) before heading to London. Playing for London
Monday 7th September 19:45 BST Andrův stadion, Olomouc #CZESCO
A lot has happened since the Nations League draw took place at the start of March, in fact a lot has changed since full time of the Israel game on Friday night. The world is a completely different place and the impact on football pales into insignificance compared to the terrible loss of life, pain and sadness the Coronavirus pandemic has brought. ATAC sends love and support to everyone that has been impacted across all walks of life.
The small hopes the Tartan Army had of attending and even travelling to the game have been well extinguished with UEFA deciding all games are behind closed doors and the government policy meaning anyone who travels will have to quarantine for 14 days on their return to Scotland. For this reason there is no ATAC Sporran Guide for this game but hope you find this match review interesting. We appreciate that there may still be a small number of supporters who will still travel and we wish you a safe journey and encourage you to take all the precautions necessary and follow all the rules that are in place.
The Nations League fixtures will be crucial in determining seeding for the World Cup qualifiers and does provide an outside chance of a play off for the winners of group B2. Scotland started with a 1-1 draw against Israel in a Euro 2020 play off dress rehearsal before heading to Olomouc to face the top seeded Czechs. After the disappointment of that draw Scotland have a massive opportunity to get back on track against a depleted Czech team. They picked up a big 3-1 away win against local rivals Slovakia on Friday but the shock news that the entire team and coaching staff have to quarantine for 14 days means they have had to start again. Slovakia travel to Israel hoping to get their campaign back on track.
The Czech Republic was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire when the Bohemia Football Association formed in 1901. They played as Bohemia 7 times. 6 against Hungary and once against England, the first a 2-1 loss in 1903. After World War 1 Czechoslovakia declared it’s independence and entered a football team in the 1920 Olympics in Belgium, they reached the final against the hosts but walked off in protest at 2-0 down and were subsequently disqualified so did not receive the silver medal. They also competed in the 1924 Olympics and the world cup finals of 1934 and 1938, losing in the final in 1934 to hosts Italy 2-1 after extra time. Although broken up by the 2nd world war it reformed as part of the Eastern Bloc and existed as a communist state until the Velvet Revolution in 1990.
Post war Czechoslovakia reached the World Cup finals a further 6 times, including the final in 1962 where they were beaten by Brazil in Chile. But the highlight would have been the final of the Euros in 1976, the game finished 2-2 after extra time and with the shoot out poised at 4-3 West Germany’s Uli Hoeness had the first penalty miss. Up stepped Antonin Panenka to score the most audacious penalty to beat the West Germans and win the trophy. Czechoslovakia reached the Euro finals twice more and on both occasions finished 3rd, in France in 1960 and Italy in 1980.
Czechoslovakia peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1st January 1993 in the middle of World Cup qualification. They completed the fixtures as the Representation of Czechs and Slovaks ending with a 0-0 draw away to Belgium in their last ever game, a win would have won a place at USA 1994. In their first tournament as the Czech Republic, Euro 96, they reached the final losing to Germany on a golden goal. Germany declined the invitation to the first official Confederations Cup in 1997 so the Czechs represented Europe and finished 3rd beating Uruguay 1-0 after losing to Brazil in the semi-final. They have only reached the World Cup finals once, in 2006 they beat USA 3-0 in their first game but were eliminated after successive 2-0 defeats to Ghana and Italy.
Euro 2020 will be their 7th straight finals since they started competing as the Czech Republic. They had to survive a scare in their penultimate qualifier against Kosovo last year. Kosovo led in Plzeň and would have went 2nd in Group A if they had held on but 2 late goals sent the Czechs to the finals. At the finals they have 2 matches scheduled at Hampden, potentially one against Scotland if we can qualify through the play offs. The last time the 2 countries met in competitive action (a qualifier for Euro 2012) ended in controversy, a last minute penalty for Michal Kadlec that looked like a blatant dive got the Czechs level at 2-2. Scotland went straight back up the other end and had a big shout for a penalty but Christophe Berra was booked for diving. That goal was ultimately the difference between second and third in the group and the Czechs would go on to qualify for the finals through the play offs.
This will be the 18th time Scotland have faced off with Czechoslovakia or the Czech Republic and the 9th time away from home. Scotland have won away on two occasions, the first ever meeting between the sides (3-1 in May 1937) and the last meeting in 2016 when Ikeche Anya scored the only goal. In qualification for the 1962 World Cup the teams finished level on points in Group 8 and in those days that meant a play off in neutral territory. In November 1961 in Brussels Scotland were eliminated 4-2 after extra time despite Ian St John putting Scotland ahead twice. In 1972 Scotland and Czechoslovakia were both invited to play in the Brazil Independence Cup, marking 150 years of Brazilian Independence. They were both given a bye to Group A of the final stage where they met in Porto Alegre, a 0-0 draw was the outcome. Scotland drew 2-2 with Yugoslavia and finished with a narrow 1-0 loss to Brazil to be eliminated. Czechoslovakia drew 0-0 with Brazil but lost 2-1 to Yugoslavia so also failed to progress. Brazil beat Portugal in the final.
In the last Nations League the Czech Republic finished 2nd in group B1 finishing behind Ukraine who they lost to twice but ahead of Slovakia who they beat twice to be ranked 20th. They did not need the play off spot they earned as they qualified for the Euros direct finishing 2nd in group A behind England. They had lost their first game 5-0 at Wembley but recovered to inflict England’s first qualification defeat in 10 years. However they followed that with a defeat at home to Northern Ireland and also lost away to Kosovo and Bulgaria.
They have played 10 games at the Andrův stadion the home of SK Sigma Olomouc, winning 7 and losing 3. The last game they played there was a 3-0 victory over Montenegro in the European qualifiers in June last year, it is the first time Scotland will have played there as on previous occasions we have played in Prague or Bratislava. It is a huge game for Steve Clarke’s men after that draw on Friday and a big opportunity given the problems the Czechs have but it is no gimme and the team will need to step up a level. There are no easy games in international football and the 11 players that take the field for Czech Republic will have a fantastic opportunity to make a name for themselves with nothing to lose.
It will also be a very strange situation for the Tartan Army with many supporters missing their first away match in a long time, for some it will be decades. Football without fans is a different game but 3 points is still 3 points and results will have a huge bearing on the future of the national team and it is also the last chance for the manager to spend time with the squad ahead of the crucial play off next month. Fingers crossed there may be some supporters at Hampden for that game but there are no guarantees. Either way it is important the results are good so when the Tartan Army are back in their seats they will have crucial matches to roar the team on.
ATAC were represented at tonight’s Football Supporters Europe Summer 2020 Networking meeting.
It has been confirmed by UEFA to FSE today, that the closed door policy for all UEFA matches applies to all club, International and U21 international matches until further notice From this evening’s meeting, we understand that September’s Nations League matches will fall into UEFA’s closed door policy announced a few weeks back.
We are expecting an announcement in August with regards the October fixtures. UEFA may decide, in the interests of sporting fairness, all Nations League matches for this year are closed doors to prevent teams having an advantage in the later games Unsure as of yet if it applies to the October playoffs for @EURO2020 (2021).
We hope to receive further clarification from SFA & SSC next week.
The recent return of football behind closed doors has demonstrated that fans are the lifeblood of the game. Their presence in the stands has been sorely missed, and the spectacle we are accustomed to has been absent without them. It is therefore more important now than ever for supporters to be included in discussions that will determine the immediate and long-term future of the game.
These discussions should revolve around three core pillars.
First, the safe return of spectators. The impact of the virus is not evenly distributed—different countries have understandably adopted different measures at different times. Still, the health of players, staff, fans, and the general public must always come first. This means minimising the risk of the virus spreading in all settings. UEFA, national leagues, and football associations have acted in line with this principle, but it must remain our foremost concern. To this end, the return of spectators to stadia must be accompanied by a meaningful consultation with fans’ representatives at every level of the game on health safety protocols and other operational measures.
Second, a recognition that the contribution made by fans is irreplaceable. As such, we have significant concerns regarding attempts by broadcasters to replace or imitate the unique atmosphere produced by fans. Augmented reality technology, pre-recorded chants, and other forms of artificial support represent a rebuke to match-going fans. Empty stadia are a direct consequence of a public health crisis that has impacted every single one of us and the absence of fans cannot be compensated for by a computer simulation aimed at the amusement of television audiences.
Third, multi-stakeholder dialogue on the future of football. The coronavirus crisis has yet again shown that the current model of football is flawed, unfair, and unsustainable. Football needs to change dramatically. And it needs to change for the better. Any reform process must include fan representatives, on a local, national, and European level. Fans must be engaged and involved in decisions that relate to the wider future of the game, including the necessary overhaul of governance structures and financial regulations.
There can be no “return to normal.” Lasting change is needed to make the game sustainable from top to bottom, and fans stand ready to play a part in shaping that change.