Scottish Cup and lower league football suspended

The Scottish Cup and league football beneath the Championship has been suspended for three weeks.

The Scottish FA said it was responding to the increasing number of coronavirus cases across the country.

Championship football can continue, but players must be tested for Covid-19 at least once per week.

The suspension will last until at least Sunday, January 31 – the weekend that third round Scottish Cup ties were due to be played.

Scottish FA president Rod Petrie said: “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 leagues suspended are: SPFL League One, SPFL League Two, Scottish Women’s Football Premier Leagues 1 and 2, Highland League, Lowland League, East, West and South of Scotland Leagues, Scottish Junior FA Leagues and the North Caledonian League.

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster. Credit: PA

Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) chief executive Neil Doncaster said the move was “sensible and necessary”.

Doncaster said: “We have been in very regular contact with our colleagues at the SFA in light of the latest worrying developments regarding the spread of Covid.

“The SPFL board met this morning and fully supports the Scottish FA’s proportionate and appropriate response to the worsening situation across the country.

“It is a sensible and necessary step which balances the need for the game to continue to play its part in limiting the spread of the virus whilst also ensuring that the top two divisions, which provide the overwhelming bulk of the income which supports the wider game, are able to be maintained for the good of the entire sport.”