Featured Image: Dominic Flaherty – Scotland Women’s Under-19’s team photo v Cyprus.
UEFA has announced the Scotland Women’s Under-19 European Championship Qualifier against Serbia has been declared as a forfeit.
The UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) stated that the Scottish Football Association (SFA) was guilty of breaking Article 26 (Refusal to play), and therefore the game will be recorded as a 3-0 win to Serbia.
The decision does not stop Scotland qualifying for the second and final stage of qualification (Elite Round), as their second-placed position finishes them as one of the top-ten best runners-up. However, it makes things much harder for them to reach the Women’s Under-19 European Championship.
The match against Serbia would have decided the group winners after Scotland had comfortably won their first two matches against Cyprus and Albania.
There are still six groups yet to play, Scotland currently in Pot B. That means they will face one of Spain, France, England, Germany or Finland (as things stand). There is a potential they could drop further down into Pot C, making things even harder. Scotland will most likely have to win their Elite Round group to reach the tournament.
But even if Scotland had lost their first two games and had no chance of reaching the Elite Round, the decision would be wrong.
These are the facts. Scotland had an independent doctor that stated that their players and staff were suffering from acute gastroenteritis. The idea that Scotland was able to play the game is ridiculous and why these young players are being punished for being ill is wrong.
I could understand possibly if there was a time limit, but here there isn’t. There is a gap in the calendar between 17th and 25th October, which is when the other six groups are played and a designated international break in the FIFA calendar. For example, Scotland’s senior team is playing the Netherlands on the 20th October. And even if there was no time for the game to be played, then surely their fair result is a draw.
Players should not be punished for being ill.
Worse still is Scotland’s Women’s Under-19 squad faced slanderous lies about the reason why they could not play the fixture, and that was when the media looked up and paid attention. This is something that is worrying and concerning. Our media should be defending, and not repeating these obvious slanders.
I hope the SFA do appeal, and even if Scotland don’t win that appeal – they will still reach the tournament that will be held in Northern Ireland.