Edinburgh City given green light to return to training with Scottish Cup boost for Hearts and Hibs
Clubs in the SPFL League One and League Two, plus the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1, have been given the green light to return to football activity immediately.
In addition, the Scottish Cup has also been given approval to resume, with all clubs in the competition given permission to participate subject to compliance with PCR testing requirements.
With Premiership and Championship fixtures having taken place on original Scottish Cup dates, revised dates will be announced as soon as possible.
At a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave the clubs in those three divisions, including Edinburgh City plus “certain Highland League teams” the green light to return to training.
Football below the Scottish Championship had been suspended since January due to the coronavirus pandemic.
City last played on January 10, a 1-0 win over Airdrieonians in the Scottish Cup.
While clubs are able to return to training, no date has been set for the league season to resume and in what format it will take.
League One and League Two are in the middle of a truncated 27-game campaign. However, some clubs across the two divisions have played as a few as eight games.
In the SWPL 1, there have been no games taking place since the middle of December.
As for Scottish Women’s Football Premier League 2, Highland League, Lowland League, East, West & South of Scotland Leagues, Scottish Junior FA Leagues and the North Caledonian League, they all remain under temporary suspension and their return to football activity will be reviewed in line with the Scottish Government’s road map out of the COVID-19 crisis.
Rod Petrie, Scottish FA president: “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.”
Mairi Gougeon, minister for public health and sport added: “We are aware of the importance of football, at all levels, to many people in Scotland and I’m happy that we have been able to work closely with the Scottish FA to allow the resumption of some further football activity – starting with SPFL Leagues 1 and 2, SWPL1 and clubs still in this season’s Scottish Cup.”