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Scottish Government extends suspension of lower-division football


By Craig Christie

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Wick Academy's last competitive outing was on Boxing Day in the Scottish Cup. Here, Ross Allan swerves past Fraser Mullen of Cowdenbeath. Picture: Mel Roger
Wick Academy's last competitive outing was on Boxing Day in the Scottish Cup. Here, Ross Allan swerves past Fraser Mullen of Cowdenbeath. Picture: Mel Roger

The Highland League and all other lower-division football in Scotland will remain on pause until at least next month.

The Scottish Football Association confirmed today that the Scottish Government will not commit to a return date in February and is continuing the suspension of all matches below Championship level.

Hopes had been raised that club training might restart next week with a view to resuming fixtures at the start of March, once players had built up their fitness levels.

But while Premiership and Championship football carries on, with Covid-19 testing at all matches, every other level in the country must wait for the next update on March 1.

The SFA said in a statement: "In recent weeks, the Scottish FA has engaged extensively with clubs and leagues affected by the suspension of professional football across the men’s and women’s game to discuss tailored return to playing plans for implementation when it is considered safe and appropriate to resume.

"We have also remained in regular dialogue with Scottish Government to ensure their input into and ultimately approval of those proposed plans.

"Regrettably, the government has today confirmed that – in cognisance of the current restrictions in place across the country – they cannot currently commit to return dates for those affected leagues in the coming weeks.

"We will continue to speak with all parties in the meantime and will provide a further update by March 1. This date should not be seen as a proposed restart date. However, it should help provide some clarity to affected clubs to aid their planning over the short term.

"While this is disappointing news, Scottish football will continue to play its part in assisting the Scottish Government’s efforts to reduce the prevalence of Covid-19 across the country."

Scottish football was suspended on January 12, with the exception of fixtures in the top two divisions.

Wick Academy's last competitive outing was on Boxing Day at Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup, which is also suspended.

No Highland League club has played more than three times in what is intended to be a 15-game fixture list.

A best-case scenario would be a resumption of fixtures in mid-March, if clubs are given the go-ahead to restart training schedules after the March 1 review.


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