Kilmarnock have forfeited their League Cup match against Falkirk with the Ayrshire club’s entire first team squad currently self-isolating.
The Rugby Park club had asked the SPFL to postpone the match, scheduled for Tuesday evening, but saw their request rejected.
After deciding against fielding a youth team, Kilmarnock say they will now forfeit the match with a 3-0 score credited to the League One side.
Six Kilmarnock players tested positive for coronavirus last week, leading an NHS Ayrshire and Arran group to advise the entire first team squad to self-isolate for 14 days.
The club asked for last Friday’s Premiership game against Motherwell to be postponed and the SPFL agreed but has not scheduled a new date, saying it will investigate the circumstances of the outbreak first.
The league body has taken a harder line on their cup competition, with Kilmarnock’s only remaining option being to play their under-18s, a move they did not think was in the best interest of the players.
Manager Alex Dyer said: “We have a duty of care for the physical and emotional wellbeing of our young players and that’s something we take extremely seriously.
“Everyone at Kilmarnock FC takes great pride in the work carried out by the Academy staff and the boys performed exceptionally well to reach the Youth Cup final prior to the COVID shutdown.
“Blooding youngsters into the first team environment carefully and at the right time is something that I believe in but as manager, I did not feel comfortable fielding an entire team of teenagers, all of whom have no first-team experience while very few have sampled Reserve football.
“While forfeiting the match is not an easy decision to make in my opinion, it would not be right to play the game as scheduled against such experienced opposition as it could be detrimental not only to the young players themselves but also to the sporting integrity of the competition.”
An SPFL spokesman said: “In anticipation of the enormous pressure on fixtures this season, the Board made clear last month that teams unable or unwilling to field a team in a Betfred Cup Round 1 group stage tie, will forfeit the match on the basis of a 3-0 defeat.
“We have enormous sympathy for players and clubs which are unable to fulfil the fixtures on the scheduled date, but, given the unprecedented challenges facing the game this year, we must maintain the clear position outlined last month in relation to the Betfred Cup first round group stage. Accordingly, Falkirk have been awarded a 3-0 win in the tie.”
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