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Lower league football to return in Scotland

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Nicola Sturgeon has today confirmed that lower league Scottish football can return, in her daily briefing to the public. 

All football below the Scottish Championship level was postponed in early January in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19, but clubs can now look forward to the resumption of competitive matches.

Teams in Leagues One and Two, as well as those who play in the Women’s Premier League 1, will begin their return to normality. Some Highland League teams will be allowed to play in order to take part in scheduled Scottish Cup ties.

The news will come as a welcome boost to clubs who were worried over the possibility of the season being curtailed.

Sturgeon said: “Later today, the Public Health Minister will support the resumption of competitive football in Scottish Leagues One and Two, the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 and for the purposes of playing Scottish Cup ties, certain Highland League teams.

“I hope this news will be welcomed by football fans across the country.”

Rod Petrie, the SFA President, said: “We are pleased that the First Minister has again recognised the importance of football in Scotland. The decision to temporarily suspend parts of the professional game played by predominantly part-time teams was not an easy one to take.

“None the less, given the sharp rise in infection rates caused by new strains of the virus at the start of the year, it was the right thing to do to assist the national effort to reduce its prevalence during lockdown.

“The preparatory work undertaken with representatives of affected leagues and their commitment to the inclusion of weekly PCR testing, has given ministers the confidence to permit the return of SWPL 1 and SPFL League One and Two.

“While we are pleased to see the return of these leagues, there remain significant numbers unable to return to play, including the remaining levels of the professional pyramid, elite youth football, club youth football and our amateur and grassroots clubs across both the male and female game.

“We are acutely aware of the desire within those levels of football to return to playing football and we will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure they are able to as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Clubs which participate in the Lowland League, East, South and West of Scotland leagues, Scottish Junior FA leagues and North Caledonian leagues have yet to be given a date regarding their return to training and playing.

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