Scottish football forms coronavirus response group

The group after the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Scotland - a patient from the Tayside area.

Scottish football forms coronavirus response group SNSGroup

Scottish football authorities have formed a response group in the face of the “serious and concerning situation” posed by coronavirus.

The Scottish FA and Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) have joined forces as they consider the implication Covid-19 will have on domestic fixtures and cup competitions, as well as national team matches.

The group has been formed less than 24 hours after the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Scotland – a patient from the Tayside area, who had recently travelled to Italy.

Neil Doncaster, SPFL chief executive, said “There have been no indications that match schedules will be affected” before adding the situation was being “monitored closely”.

He explained: “We are in regular dialogue with our counterparts in England and leagues in Europe to share news and best practice on what is clearly a serious and concerning situation.

“At the moment, there have been no indications that match schedules will be affected, but we are monitoring events closely and liaising with the Scottish Government to ensure we are as well prepared as possible.

“Together with the Scottish FA, we will coordinate the game’s response to the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak in a responsible and planned manner. We will obviously update clubs and fans on any developments.”

The group, which includes the Scottish FA’s medical consultant Dr John MacLean, had is first formal discussion on Monday morning.

It has committed to a joint approach to ensure co-ordinated messaging to supporters, clubs, national teams, players, match officials, staff and other key stakeholders potentially affected by the escalation of the outbreak.

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive said: “The safety of everyone involved in attending or participating in a major football event is our foremost consideration and given the developing situation locally and internationally, it is incumbent on the football authorities to speak with one voice in providing guidance and reassurance to stakeholders.

“This applies to matches hosted here in Scotland but also for teams participating in competitions outwith the country.

“Our medical consultant is in regular dialogue with experts and colleagues across the UK and beyond and we will be guided by the UK chief medical officer as well as Dr Catherine Calderwood, the chief medical officer for Scotland.

“While it is important to stress that the current government advice states the risk to individuals is moderate, nonetheless we are starting to see the impact the spread of the virus is having, with the postponement of sporting events across Europe.

“The response group will co-ordinate activity daily to ensure Scottish football takes the necessary measures to safeguard the wellbeing of everyone involved in the national game amid the outbreak.”