COVID 19: SFA suspend all football below the Championship

The SFA has suspended professional and semi-professional football from League 1 and below until the 31st of January. 

The suspension also effects the Scottish Cup, women’s and junior levels of football.

It means that all of the Scottish Cup games that were originally to take place before February 1st will now need to be rescheduled including those featuring Championship and Premier League teams. 

If both the SPFL Premiership and Championship carry out their testing protocols, then they are permitted to continue.

Rangers captain James Tavernier still able to defend their lead at the top

Scottish FA President Rod Petrie said: “The Scottish FA is well aware of the efforts all clubs take to comply with the exacting protocols that were conditional on elite football being given an exemption to continue amid the pandemic.

“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.”

The suspension was agreed following a meeting with the SFA and the Minister for Public Health Sport and Wellbeing, Mairi Gougeon.

Both parties agreed it is for the best to stop the spread of the new strain of the virus as the suspension will heavily reduce travelling and contact.

Partick Thistle in action. Credit: Andrew Hendo

Partick Thistle have been one of the clubs in Scotland to be affected the most by the pandemic.

The jags were relegated from the Championship last season after it was cut  short despite Thistle having games in hand over their oppositions which if they had won could have taken them out of the drop zone .

They released a statement shortly after Monday’s decision:

“Partick Thistle wants to put on record its support for any measures the Scottish Government puts in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.

In the current pandemic, the priority must be on saving lives and protecting the NHS.

“We warned last week that the football authorities’ distribution of monies, which penalised Thistle by £350k, could come back to bite us if games were stopped.

Less than a week later, here we are without the financial cushion other full-time clubs have been given.

We are already looking at furloughing staff and players which is an awful step for a professional club to have to take and could impact our ability to compete when football returns.”

SFA HQ at Hampden Stadium. Credit: V&A Dudush

A review of the suspension will take place following the initial three weeks which is at the same time the current lockdown will be reviewed in Scotland.

The SFA will meet with the government to decide if the three weeks will be extended or if it is safe for the players and staff to return and continue out the season.

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