WHILE Glasgow City will fly out to Spain on Wednesday for the Champions League quarter- final against Wolfsburg two days later, the prospects of Scotland playing Cyprus and Portugal next month are receding.

Shelley Kerr is blunt about her preference.

“I personally don’t think the games should be going ahead,” the head coach said of the rescheduled Euro qualifiers. “There are a whole host of issues, but the biggest is the players not being equipped to go into international games when some of them have played little or no football. The finals aren’t until 2022, so why the rush?”

Uefa’s official position is that the qualifiers across the nine groups will take place next month as planned. However, my understanding is that postponements might be permitted if both nations involved in a game want that to happen.

National associations across the continent are becoming increasingly financially stressed with little or no income coming in. But despite this, Uefa’s return-to-play protocols will considerably increase the costs of international games.

The governing body now “strongly recommend” travel to matches should be by chartered flights. They reserve the right to make it compulsory for certain competitions. Few, if any, inter-national women’s teams enjoy the luxury of this form of travel.

Uefa also say team members should, if possible, be allocated individual bedrooms in hotels.

Again, this would add to costs – and all this is before the extra testing required for players assembling in a different bubble from their team ones.

In these circumstances it’s no surprise Kerr has little appetite for the games against Cyprus on September 18 and Portugal on September 22 going ahead. Portugal are believed to want to postpone the qualifier also, but Cyprus are more ambivalent.

GLASGOW City have no such travel problems, thanks to the generosity of Edinburgh philanthropist James Anderson. The financier is paying for their chartered return flights to Bilbao and all the club’s Covid-19 testing.

The task facing City at the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian is formidable. Double tournament winners Wolfsburg would have held all the aces in normal times, but added to that they resumed competitive football in late May and wrapped up another Bundesliga title the following month.

The Scottish champions, by contrast, have had just 90 minutes of competitive football all year – the Scottish Building Society SWPL1 loss to Celtic on February 21.

Should Friday’s quarter-final go to form, City will return home on Saturday. If there is a massive upset they will stay on for a semi-final against Atletico Madrid or Barcelona a week on Tuesday.

AMERICAN loan signing Krystyna Freda is taking more than a passing interest in her Scotland team-mates at Glasgow City. She expects to line up for Cyprus against Scotland next month, or whenever the qualifier is eventually played.

“I received my passport and Cypriot citizenship in March,” the 26-year-old from New Jersey said at City’s media day. The player, who will return to Apollon Ladies after the tournament, scored against her loan club when playing for Somatio Barcelona in a 2018-19 Champions League last 32 tie at Petershill Park.

“I like finding the gaps and getting in behind defences,” the player said. “I also like one-on-one with keepers. I’m hungry to score. My team can win, but if I don’t find the net I feel like I haven’t done my job.”

Like her new team-mates, Freda is all too aware of the threat posed by players of the calibre of Alexandra Popp, Pernille Harder and Ewa Pajor. City, who lost 4-0 to Manchester United in a friendly last Sunday, can only hope a one-off game in a neutral country might be to their benefit.

ANGER followed the decision of the Coronavirus joint response group to pause socially distanced training for women’s clubs. They did so without any prior warning late on Thursday afternoon.

Among those affected were Hibernian and Rangers. The latter, especially, have players who would expect to be in the Scotland squad if next month’s qualifiers do go ahead – but bizarrely, and without being told to do so by the government, the Scottish FA is preventing them from training.

Thursday’s decision is yet another example of the SFA and the SPFL – the only bodies represented on the joint response group – acting entirely in the interests of the men’s Premiership clubs. For the SFA, whose responsibility is to the wider game, it’s not a good look.