The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has announced that professional football beneath the Scottish Championship has been suspended for three weeks, due to the rising levels of COVID-19 transmission throughout the country.
This means that all leagues, except the Premiership and Championship will be paused for the time being, with the Scottish Cup also affected.
The Scottish Championship has been allowed to continue on the basis that they commence weekly testing of players immediately.
The Scottish Woman’s Premier League 1 and 2 will stop for three weeks, alongside; League One, League Two, The Lowland League and all leagues below, including; East, West and South of Scotland Leagues, Junior Leagues and the North Caledonian League.
Whilst lower leagues were given assurances that they would be able to continue just last week; the escalating COVID-19 situation across Scotland has meant that the SFA has decided to act now to avoid a potential serious football-related outbreak.
SFA president, Rod Petrie said: “While the national sport has been afforded the privilege of elite sporting exemption, the risk of mass transportation of untested, largely part-time players is something that cannot be sustained as the cases continue to rise and available hospital beds become increasingly scarce.
“After discussions with the SPFL, the Premiership and Championship will continue on the proviso that both adhere to the existing testing regime. The vast majority of teams in those divisions are full-time professional clubs and so the risk of transmission remains manageably low.
“The cost implications to lower-division clubs was one factor but so too the realisation that many – with some notable exceptions – consist of part-time players who are either prevented from working due to the virus or have to work.
“In either case, the risk is currently too great amid the developing nationwide spread of the virus.”
The SFA and Scottish Government will continue to assess the situation and will inform clubs over the coming weeks whether or not lower league football will return within the three-week timeframe.
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