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SCOTTISH FOOTBALL IN LOCKDOWN

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ALL domestic professional and grassroots football in Scotland has been suspended until further notice.

The decision was taken by the Scottish FA board following an emergency meeting of the SFA / SPFL this morning.

The lockdown will kick in immediately and two games scheduled for this evening are off as is the sell-out clash between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox on Sunday.

A statement read: “The Joint Response Group can confirm the decision of the Scottish FA Board to suspend ALL domestic professional and grassroots football under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA until further notice.

“As a result, the SPFL has announced the postponement of this weekend’s and following midweek’s fixtures, starting with tonight’s Premiership match between Motherwell and Aberdeen and the Championship match between Queen of the South and Ayr United.

“The Scottish FA and SPFL will continue to liaise with governments and UEFA in relation to domestic, European and International fixtures in the coming days and more information will be communicated at the appropriate time.

“The Scottish FA Board made its decision in the interests of the health and safety of players, match officials, staff, supporters and the general public.”

SFA chief Ian Maxwell added: “Since the guidance outlined by governments last night we have been engaged in extensive dialogue to clarify the position and implications of that guidance for Scottish football.

“Today’s announcement is made in the interests of public health, but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game. This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is also why the Scottish FA is compelled to ensure that the suspension is cascaded through the non-professional and grassroots games until further notice.”

League chief Neil Doncaster said: “As everyone knows, this is a fast-moving and unprecedented situation for the entire country.

“We have been in intensive and detailed discussions since last night and have also been taking on board the experience of our counterparts in England and across Europe. As a result, the board of the SPFL has agreed this morning that all league fixtures this weekend and next midweek will be postponed until further notice.

“The health and safety of fans, players and officials is absolutely paramount. We have not yet had any confirmed cases of Coronavirus amongst players in Scotland, but, given the nature of this outbreak, it seems only a matter of time.

“We realise that many people will be bitterly disappointed, and we would obviously prefer to be in a position where we can continue as normal, but that’s neither realistic nor possible.”

UEFA have already postponed all of next week’s Europa League and Champions League fixtures, including Rangers’ trip to Germany to face Bayer Leverkusen, while PFA Scotland has expressed concern at the prospect of games being played behind closed doors, insisting the welfare of players should come first.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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