Coronavirus: Closed-door 3pm matches could be televised

The Scottish FA and SPFL have been in contingency planning discussions.

Scottish football’s governing bodies have held discussions to broadcast or stream matches at 3pm on Saturdays if they are advised to play games behind closed doors due to coronavirus.

The spread of the disease has led to a number of steps being taken, with the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football Leagues having already banned pre- and post-match handshakes and set up a Joint Response Group to deal with the crisis.

Football associations across Europe have already ordered that their games should be played without supporters in stadiums and senior figures in the Scottish game met on Tuesday to discuss contingency plans if same restrictions are introduced in the UK.

The authorities have already advised clubs to check their insurance policies to see if they will be covered if they miss out on gate receipts while completing their fixtures.

In addition, SFA and SPFL officials have discussed how fans can watch games in that eventuality.

Since the 1960s there has been a ban on showing live games at 3pm on Saturday afternoons and parties involved are now considering whether to lift that restriction for as long as necessary. There is also a possibility that games could be streamed on other platforms.

An SPFL spokesperson told STV: “It’s way too early to speculate and we are focusing on this weekend’s fixtures.”

While work continues on planning for the domestic game, Rangers have issued a statement confirming that Thursday’s Europa League first leg match against Bayer Leverkusen will take place as expected.

However, doubts are being cast over the arrangements for the return leg of the last 16 tie in Germany next week.

The state government in Germany have issued a statement saying any events with over 1,000 people should be cancelled or held behind closed doors. This would affect travelling fans and Rangers have warned that the situation could change quickly and dramatically.

UEFA have already confirmed that several Champions League and Europa League ties will be played behind closed doors this week.

The governing body has downplayed talk of Euro 2020 being postponed, telling STV that they are “in touch with the relevant international and local authorities regarding the Coronavirus and its development, and stating that “there is no need to change anything in the planned timetable”.

Games in the tournament are scheduled to be played across the tournament, with Glasgow’s Hampden Park hosting three matches.

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