Joint Response Group Update 4/6
The board of the Scottish FA has held a virtual conference to consider the next steps for the suspension of all football confirmed on March 13 until June 10.
This followed last week’s roundtable at which the Scottish FA and SPFL chief executives presented a timeline and protocols for the return of professional football in Scotland to the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing and the National Clinical Director of Scotland.
The June 10 date was set in accordance with the period during which the Scottish Government deemed NHS Scotland to be on an emergency footing to deal with impact of COVID-19.
Based on the productive dialogue between Ian Maxwell and Neil Doncaster, Joe FitzPatrick and Professor Jason Leitch, during which a robust Coronavirus testing regime was presented along with timelines for the safe return to training and playing, the board has agreed to a restricted lifting of the suspension after June 10.
The suspension of football will be lifted to enable training from June 11, specifically for SPFL Premiership first-team squads only.
Any other competitions wishing to return to training must be able to confirm their ability to meet the testing regime and other safeguarding measures agreed between the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government.
The suspension remains in place for those competitions that cannot meet such criteria and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive: “Firstly, I would stress that the conditional lifting of suspension for Scottish Premiership clubs is predicated on observing the measures outlined by Scottish Government in their route map out of lockdown.
“I would like to thank the Joint Response Group sub groups for their work in helping to produce the robust Return to Training protocol which has given the government the necessary comfort to provisionally plan for an August 1 restart for the Premiership.
“In particular I would like to recognise the efforts of Dr John MacLean, our Medical Consultant, and his medical sub group in providing clear and unambiguous guidance to clubs on the testing procedures required.
“I am also aware that other parts of the game will seek further clarity on when they may be able to resume. The testing criteria required at this stage is prohibitive but as the governing body for football we are determined to restore the national game at all levels as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.
“I am aware of the need to provide an achievable route map for the women’s game and we are engaged with Scottish Women’s Football to discuss the practicalities for the Scottish Women’s Premier League, especially given Glasgow City’s involvement in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
“The grassroots sub group has recently issued a Q&A to the recreational game and we are in the process of looking at initiatives to keep those grassroots footballers of all ages engaged until they can return to the football pitch.”