The Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League have announced that this weekend’s fixtures will be played as scheduled, while the country takes measures to slow the global coronavirus pandemic.
Leagues across Europe have suspended competition, or ordered games to be played behind closed doors, while UEFA have scheduled a meeting for next week to discuss the impact on continental and international matches.
Current advice from the UK and Scottish governments is that sporting events can continue as planned but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that a ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people will come into place on Monday.
Steps have already been taken by the SFA/SPFL since the outbreak of the virus, including a ban on pre- and postmatch handshakes, and issuing reminders on hygiene. Clubs have also been advised to check insurance policies with the financial impact of cancellations or empty stadia expected to be severe.
In a statement issued on Thursday evening, the SFA and SPFL’s Joint Response Group said that this weekend’s games, including the Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic, would go ahead.
The statement read: ” Following the First Minister’s comments regarding plans to restrict public gatherings from next week, we will enter discussions with the Scottish Government to understand the full detail of their plans and the implications for clubs and national sides.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all SPFL games scheduled for this weekend will be proceeding as planned.
“Of course, we ask all fans, players and officials to heed the clear instructions about self-isolation for seven days if they exhibit the symptoms of Coronavirus, and the vital necessity of good handwashing hygiene.
“The Scottish FA has also been invited by UEFA to join a video conference call on Tuesday, at which its Executive Committee will discuss European football’s response to the outbreak with all 55 national associations and other key stakeholders. This will enable the Scottish FA to provide clear and unequivocal advice ahead of the UEFA Nations League Play-Off semi-final against Israel on March 26th at Hampden Park.
“Once we are in possession of a definitive action plan from the Scottish Government, we will communicate contingency plans as quickly and as accurately as possible to all our stakeholders. The same applies to other Scottish FA fixtures likely to be affected by the implications of the ‘delay’ period advice, such as the remaining William Hill Scottish Cup fixtures, and qualifiers involving the Scotland Women’s National Team and men’s Under-21s.”