The Scottish FA have confirmed they will make a decision on whether to postpone the Scottish Cup semi-finals – between Aberdeen and Celtic and Hearts and Hibs – and the national team’s UEFA Nations League play-off with Israel after tomorrow’s conference call with the European governing body.
The joint response group, comprising the SFA and Scottish Professional Football League, are meeting daily to discuss measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus and issued the update this afternoon.
Israel are set to visit Hampden on March 26, while the Scottish Cup last-four matches are scheduled to take place at the national stadium on April 11 and 12.
Their latest statement reiterates Friday’s decision to put league matches, as well as the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup final between Raith Rovers and Caley Thistle on March 28, on hold indefinitely.
At the weekend, all football, from the top-flight to the grassroots, was called off.
Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “The focus of the Scottish FA remains the public health, the emergency services and the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game.
“Many thousands of fans are looking forward to the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals and the UEFA Nations League play-off against Israel. We understand that they, and all fans of Scottish football, will want urgent clarity about those games. We expect to be in a position after tomorrow’s UEFA conference call, to make a further announcement.”
Meanwhile, although the board say their “preference remains that season 2019/20 will be played to completion”, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said the Scottish game was facing “arguably the most challenging time in our sport’s history” and the suspension of fixtures will only be lifted when – in consultation with Governments and medical experts – it is “deemed safe to do so”.
On why games have been postponed entirely, instead of being played behind closed doors, the statement says: “It was the unanimous view of the Scottish FA Board that this approach could compromise the health and safety of other key stakeholders, not least players, match officials and staff, as well as necessitating the attendance of emergency services and medical staff.”
The board also say they are looking at the potential “financial implications” for clubs and ways to support them during a prolonged shutdown.
It also says the Scottish FA board has recommended teams “at all levels of the game” refrain from training for the time being.