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Scottish Government extends suspension of Scottish Professional Football League lower divisions as well as Highland League action

By Craig Christie

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SPFL Leagues One and Two, the Highland League and all lower division football remains on pause for at least the next month.

Rothes and Buckie Thistle in action before football was suspended. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Rothes and Buckie Thistle in action before football was suspended. Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

For the Scottish FA have revealed that the Scottish Government won't 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 recovered any lost 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.

A SFA spokesperson said: "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."

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

Elgin City have played just nine of their scheduled 27 fixtures in League 2, their last one being held on December 19.

City's last competitive outing was on Boxing Day in the Scottish Cup, which is also suspended with 45 clubs still involved in the third round draw.

Highland League matches were last played on January 10 but no club has played more than three fixtures in a 15-game season so far.

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.

"We will continue to speak with all parties in the meantime and will provide a further update by 1 March," said the SCottish FA statement.

"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.

"Whilst 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."

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