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Scotland can benefit from winter move says Haley

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The transition into a winter league is a decision welcomed by Celtic, David Haley says, as he looks forward to the 20/21 season kicking off in a month’s time. 

The move marks the first time in the assistant manager’s career that he’ll be involved in the women’s game through the winter months, and he insists it can help both clubs and the league overall. 

"It’s something I think Celtic in particular have tried to promote and push as much as they can with people involved in various groups and conversations trying to get it to a winter league similar to the men's league. It’s something the club's pushed for for a long time and thankfully the league has come to that decision,” he began. 

“Since I’ve been involved, we've pretty much always been a summer league. We've had half seasons to make it into that but there's obviously benefits to winter leagues for the likes of ourselves in terms of commercial opportunities syncing up with the men’s team. From a personal point of view I think it's really good - you're always asked, "when do they play?", and we can now say it's the same time as the men.”

The new calendar doesn’t just see the women’s game run parallel to the SPFL, but it will also fall in line with the majority of European leagues and crucially the Champions League, something Haley believes can help all clubs with recruitment. 

He said: “There aren't many leagues now that play a summer league - Scandinavia is in that bracket - but all the top leagues are winter seasons. 

“Recently Scottish teams have gone into the Champions League half way through their season, and then Glasgow City have gotten to the quarter finals and played them when their season is just starting, so it was a bit unfair.

“In terms of the FIFA transfer window it makes it a little easier for us as well to try and get players in at the right time and again, there isn't that question of when the league starts.”

Amidst the exciting times will come challenges Haley tells, but he maintains it can be for the best for the whole country and is excited to see the avenues it can introduce.

“I think anyone could find an opportunity to put it down if they're trying to find it. The usual is pitches get called off in December, but I've been involved in women’s football for so long I've seen games called off in April because of weather, so it’s pot luck and we have to get on with it the best we can.

“Hopefully we can get more supporters, we can maybe do double headers with men’s teams and I think the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

“To me it has loads of advantages and for the long run I think it's for the benefit of the whole game,” he added. 


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