Coronavirus: Scottish football suspended - what it means for Hearts, Hibs, Edinburgh City and the Lothians teams

This weekend’s fixtures have been postponed following talks by the SPFL and SFA
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The SFA and SPFL’s joint response group have confirmed all games in Scotland have been postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus

The Premier League and English Football League had earlier announced they postponed matches until 3 April at the earliest.

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What will the postponement mean for this week’s matches and Scottish football as a whole? We take a look at the possible impact of such a big decision:

Hearts and Hibs won't be in action until further notice. Picture: SNSHearts and Hibs won't be in action until further notice. Picture: SNS
Hearts and Hibs won't be in action until further notice. Picture: SNS

What does ‘suspending the season’ mean?

In short, no games will played for a period.

Already across Europe leagues have suspended play. In Italy, the league has been shutdown until 3 April, while the Spanish La Liga don’t expect action for at least the next two round of matches. MLS have suspended matches for 30 days with the Premier League and English Football League expected to stop until 3 April.

Uefa have already postponed next week’s Champions League and Europa League matches, with a meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the European competitions as well as Euro 2020.

The dates which leagues are suspended until are likely to be very flexible, with one report from England noting that an extension beyond 4 April is very likely.

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What does this mean for the league title, European spots, promotion and relegation?

Currently Hibs are pushing for a European spot, Hearts are in a relegation battle, while Edinburgh City are well clear in a League 2 play-off spot.

No one is yet sure how this will transpire. It will all depend on the future decisions as to when, or if the league is completed.

Euro 2020 may be pushed to 2021 to allow leagues around Europe to be played until completion.

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That would allow for the different divisions to be played to their natural conclusion with title winners, relegation and play-offs all confirmed.

The complexities arise if the situation does not improve in the next few weeks which forces an extension of the postponements.

Could the season be cancelled?

It is definitely a possibility considering the severity of the situation around the world just now.

That would then pose a number of headaches for the SPFL and SFA with regards to league titles, relegation and promotion, as well as who qualifies for Europe.

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There has already been speculation in Germany as to what would happen if the season is cancelled.

The Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB), the country's football association, have reportedly put a proposal together which would see no champion or relegation.

Instead, the German top-flight would expand to 22 teams, allowing four to come up from 2.Bundesliga, for next season.

When will a suspension be announced?

It has officially been announced by the SFA and SPFL.

It means tonight’s Motherwell v Aberdeen class is off, as well as all the matches across the weekend, including Hearts’ trip to Livingston, Hibs v St Johnstone and Edinburgh City’s clash with Stenhousemuir.

Didn’t the SFA and SPFL announce games would go ahead?

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Yes, on Thursday they confirmed this weekend’s action would be played.

A statement read: “Following the First Minister’s comments regarding plans to restrict public gatherings from next week, we will enter discussions with the Scottish Government to understand the full detail of their plans and the implications for clubs and national sides.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all SPFL games scheduled for this weekend will be proceeding as planned.”

Why the change of heart?

The SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster called this a “fast-moving situation” and said “the health and safety of fans, players and officials is absolutely paramount”.

How long will a suspension of the season last?

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Again, that is unclear with the SPFL and SFA stating “until further notice”.

What have other countries done?

Portugal, America, Spain, England and France are just some countries which have opted to postpone, at minimum, their top-flight.

At the time of writing Germany are still set to play games behind closed doors this weekend before the league is suspended from Tuesday next week.