THE unedifying spectacle of the Scottish Professional Football League mishandling the 2019-20 season conclusion was yet another reminder of how badly our national sport is governed. As ever, the greater good of the game counts for zilch when measured against the interests of the individual clubs.

Which is why the Scottish FA strategic review currently looking at how to take Scottish women's football forward must come to conclusions which are best suited for the sport as a whole. Would allowing the top two Scottish Building Society SWPL divisions to be run by the SPFL, as is being mooted, do that? And does another proposal, to revert to a winter season to tie in with men's football, serve the best interests of players, spectators and sponsors?

In normal times these would be pressing questions, but top of the agenda now is when the season will resume – and also what shape the top women's clubs will be in once it does.

There appear to be two scenarios for the resumption of competitive football. The first is for a truncated season to restart in the middle of August (with training being reintroduced four weeks earlier) and ending in December. If that can't happen, the second option could be for 2020 to be written off, with a new winter season starting in September.

Under the first scenario the League Cup would be abandoned, which would be ironic given it accounted for the bulk of the games played in February and early March. The competition has no sponsor so is dispensable, and there is even talk of scrapping the Scottish Cup. The four year sponsorship by SSE ended in November and hasn't yet been renewed or replaced.

Deleting both cup competitions might allow the scheduled three rounds of league fixtures to be played before the end of the year. Should that prove impossible, and only two rounds of games can be played – just 14 in total in the SWPL1 – the next issue to be resolved would be whether to suspend promotion and relegation for a season.

“You're planning – but you don't know what you're planning for,” is how one senior official wryly summed up the position both at her own club and the overall prospects for 2020.

THE international players' association FIFPro issued a timely warning on Thursday. According to the Netherlands-based organisation, professional women's teams face “an almost existential threat” from the Covid-19 pandemic unless they are protected from the inevitable financial fall-out.

There is anecdotal evidence that some European clubs are consulting their male players about pay cuts and deferrals, but not offering female players the same courtesy before taking action. That said, soundings suggest that many top English clubs are honouring their financial commitments to their female players.

In Scotland, the Rangers squad and coaches have been put on furlough, and the same is true of Fran Alonso and the lesser number of professional players at Celtic. The sooner football can resume the better, because the consequences of a prolonged shut down don't bear thinking about – and not just for the women's game.

DIFFERENT clubs have found different ways to keep their players fit and gainfully occupied during the shut down, but Scottish Building Society SWPL2 club Boroughmuir Thistle deserve special plaudits.

The club, which gave Everton manager Willie Kirk and his assistant Chris Roberts an introduction to women's football, are producing a superb weekly newsletter called Thistle Together. It is packed with information, detailed training routines for all age groups, as well as entertaining and fun content.

The newsletters also give the Boroughmuir coaches a form of payment in difficult times. Parents voluntarily pay £10 a month to receive them and in some cases top this up by continuing to pay suspended club memberships.

“We have self-employed coaches who help out with the different teams, and whilst the furlough scheme for employees came through quickly, these guys were inevitably going to struggle,” club chair Gavin Michie explained.

“We did market research with the parents via a Zoom conference. The message that came back quite strongly was they wanted something structured. They also wanted the girls to feel they were still part of the club, and most importantly they wanted them to have video contact with their coaches to provide something else outwith the parental bubble.”

Boroughmuir Thistle caters for some 300 players, with parents contributing £3000 in the first month. The strong take-up allowed the newsletter to increase from eight pages to 32 – which in turn reinforced the club's commitment to its community.

This, and not the hype at the top end of the game, is the real power of football.