Rangers and Celtic have been told to prepare for an early August restart by the SPFL after new Neil Doncaster talks.
The governing body’s chief executive told Sky Sports yesterday he was in constant dialogue with government chiefs as plans accelerate for a behind-closed-doors return fitting with the original 2020-21 domestic schedule.
The SPL clubs are focused on preserving as much of next season as possible, because of the importance of the new Sky Sports deal which begins on August 1.
It is worth £125m across five years and will be a lifeblood to the Scottish game, including twin totems Celtic and Rangers.
The rivalry and passion of the Old Firm is central to Sky Sports’ marketing and promotion of the deal, which represents an uplift on the current split-broadcasters arrangement.
“A huge segment of the Sky deal is due to Celtic and Rangers, because everyone wants to see those matches – the history, tradition, intensity,” ex-SPL striker Noel Whelan told Football Insider.
“Scottish football can’t afford for the new deal not to start on time. They have a fraction of the Premier League broadcasting cash and £125m is astronomical for them.
“Celtic are deserved champions and it’s up to Steven Gerrard’s men to knock them off their perch. We all want to see them try.”
Neil Lennon’s side were crowned champions on Monday for a ninth consecutive time after the 2019-20 season was terminated early following a vote of the 12 Scottish Premiership clubs.
SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster admits getting fans back inside football grounds is challenging as the country deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, but insists the aim remains to start the new season in August. pic.twitter.com/iAWO9VY7jE
— Sky Sports Scotland (@ScotlandSky) May 20, 2020
That doomed Hearts to relegation and possible legal ramifications, while Rangers are also pondering further legal moves following the bungled vote ballot that let to an unedifying public civil war.
Focus has now started on preparing for next season, when the Light Blues will be under huge pressure to prevent Celtic marching to 10-in-a-row.
In other Rangers news, a 29-year-old has set his sights on joining an English club after recent developments at Ibrox.