Could Hearts, Hibs and Edinburgh City be back in action sooner than expected - SPFL set date for possible return

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Murdoch MacLennan has warned of the possible difficulties facing clubs in the coming weeks and months

Hearts, Hibs and Edinburgh City could be back in action before August.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan has admitted that Scottish football “must do everything humanly possible” to get the game back up and running in July.

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The former CEO of the Telegraph group expressed the necessity of football returning as he addressed the outcome of the EGM vote for an independent investigation into the league body.

Could the Edinburgh sides be in for an earlier return? Picture: SNSCould the Edinburgh sides be in for an earlier return? Picture: SNS
Could the Edinburgh sides be in for an earlier return? Picture: SNS

Rangers’ resolution for an inquiry was rejected with just 13 clubs across the four divisions voting in favour of the proposal.

MacLennan welcomed the vote, calling on Scottish football to now unite and make sure clubs avoid the extreme perils faced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The SPFL chief did not sugar coat the difficulties clubs face in the coming weeks and months to simply survive.

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Some members of SPFL clubs have expressed their doubt that football can return before September, but MacLennan is eager to see a July return ahead of the 2020/2021 campaign.

He said: “Every single one of us understands that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought huge challenges for our game, which we must overcome soon if we are to save all 42 clubs and restart the sport we all love.

“That is a daunting prospect in its own right – one of the gravest our sport has faced and it’s no exaggeration to say that it threatens the very existence of many of the SPFL’s clubs if we get it wrong.

“If Scottish football is to survive this, we simply must unite and use the enormous talents, resources and creativity at our collective disposal to rescue our game.

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“Time is short. In reality, we must do everything humanly possible to get games back up and running by the end of July.

“We simply cannot afford the distraction of further infighting or legal challenges.

“I’m sure we can all agree that the quicker we get back to playing football, the better.”

Speaking to Piers Morgan On Good Morning Britain on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon poured doubt on a swift return.

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"I think we have to be very cautious about that as we have to about everything else,” she said.

"The Scottish government is talking to the football authorities here in Scotland to see what might be possible. But as with everything else right now, our focus has to be on continuing to tackle this virus and continuing to save lives.

"If that means a bit longer without football, I'm afraid that's a price we're going to have to pay."