East Fife chairman 'overwhelmed' after fans fundraise to pay fixture fine

East Fife have accepted their £1000 fine for refusing to take to the field against Clyde – citing Covid-19 concerns from a positive test received among the Bully Wee squad, reports David Oliver.
Bayview stadium in MethilBayview stadium in Methil
Bayview stadium in Methil

Chairman Jim Stevenson said the club “looked forward" to playing Clyde in the re-arranged game next week and accepted the SFA tribunal’s decision and punishment – which supporters and fundraisers have offered to pay after setting up a GoFundMe page online.

Darren Young and his players refused to kick off Tuesday’s encounter after a positive test result was received at Broadwood, with fears the virus could spread to pregnant family members or have employment implications.

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However, after charging the club for failing to fulfill the League One fixture, the SFA found East Fife guilty of breaching the regulations. It said the on-field risk of transmission was ‘very low’ and handed out a fine of £11,000 – £10,000 of which was suspended.

Club chairman Jim Stevenson fully backed the decision not to play the game but accepted the fine.

He said: “We were able to put forward our reasons for reaching our decision on Tuesday night. We were treated very cordially by the tribunal panel, who listened to our case but informed us that the game should have been played, as the risk of transmission of Covid-19 between players on the field of play is very low.

"We do understand, particularly at this difficult time, that the importance of completing the fixtures is paramount and that any postponement at this stage of the season could have had a serious implication on the completion of the league programme. We accept the decision of the tribunal unreservedly.”

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He added: “I would like to put on record that East Fife does not apportion any blame on our friends at Clyde FC. They were also placed in a difficult situation and we look forward to playing them next Thursday.”

Supporters have backed the club’s decision too, and Stevenson was “overwhelmed by messages of support, not only from our own fans but the whole Scottish Football Community.

"A GoFundMe page has raised a staggering amount of money in a matter of hours and we have been contacted by others offering financial support,” added Mr Stevenson. “We are eternally grateful for the support and financial backing shown to us during a difficult week.”