League One and Two clubs to resume action on March 20

Clubs have asked to play a 22-game season but SPFL expresses concern at potential fixturing challenges.

League One and Two clubs to resume action on March 20 SNS Group

Clubs in League One and League Two will recommence their seasons on March 20 after the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) approved the resumption of the 2020/21 campaign.

But the SPFL says it remains concerned that clubs in the lower divisions could complete a 22-game season and has expressed a preference for an 18-game season.

Earlier on Thursday, clubs in League One and League Two acknowledged a 27-game season was no longer a viable option after the coronavirus pandemic halted action on January 12.

Instead, they proposed playing a 22-game season, which would include a split in each league after 18 games, followed by four further games.

They said this was important to ensure a competitive end to the season.

The SPFL board believe, however, that such a structure would “severely constrain the flexibility of the SPFL to schedule fixtures in the event of future disruption from Covid-19 and risks part-time clubs being required to play Saturday-Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday”.

The progression of League One and Two clubs to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup would further complicate the situation, according to the governing body.

In a statement released on Thursday night, the SPFL said: “The SPFL board respects the right of League One and League Two clubs to determine how many League Matches they wish to play this season.

“The SPFL board has, therefore, asked the League One and League Two representatives to consider how they would wish the board to deal with any club unable to complete a 22-match programme in the time available. Only then will the board be able to consider the requests to push back the dates of the playoffs.”

League One, League Two and the Women’s Premier League were all given the go-ahead earlier this week after talks between the Scottish FA and Scottish Government.

The Scottish Cup will also restart this month.

Second round ties will be completed on Tuesday, March 23 before the third round – featuring Premiership sides – takes place on April 3.

The final will be played at Hampden on May 22, after both semi-finals on the weekend of May 8.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said: “We are pleased that League One and League Two clubs have come together to propose a way forward for the resumption of their season.

“However, it’s our duty to underline that the SPFL board has severe reservations about the practicality of part-time clubs being able to complete a 22-game season, including a ‘split’, in time to compete in the end of season playoffs. 

“In the board’s view, an 18-game season would have created far more flexibility but, that said, we respect the right of League One and League Two clubs to determine how many games they will play this season.” 

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