• Calum Lawrie

SFA greenlight may not lead to immediate Highland League resumption

The Highland League may not resume any time soon – even if lower league football is given the greenlight to restart.


Football in Scotland below the Championship has been suspended since January 11 and will remain so until Monday at the earliest.


The SFA is set to announce tomorrow whether the shutdown will be extended, or when the lower leagues can restart and the conditions they would need to meet.



The 20 clubs in Leagues One and Two came together last month to create a route to playing again document, which was submitted to the SFA, which proposed returning to training from February 15 and starting to play games again on March 2.


Within the document, third and fourth tier sides also said they would be willing to carry out weekly Covid-19 tests.


Premiership clubs have been testing for coronavirus all season and the Championship started doing the same last month.


However, prior to the suspension, all leagues below the top-flight were operating conducting temperature tests.


There is optimism within League One and Two they will be given permission to return to training from next week as a result of the measures they are prepared to take and coronavirus infections across Scotland decreasing.


However, even if the SFA does grant a return to action, the conditions required to start playing again could mean a further delay for the Highland League.


If Covid-19 testing is required that is likely be a stumbling block. It is understood it’s highly unlikely the league would resume if they were required to conduct weekly coronavirus tests.


Clubs in the Highland League did receive a £33,000 grant as part of the Scottish Government’s support package for sport.


Having been starved of income for months, this cash is seen as crucial to the long-term survival of clubs and allowing them to continue to operate beyond this season.


Sources have indicated using the grant money for Covid-19 tests in the short term to restart the season is not something they would be willing to do and endanger their sustainability in the long term.


League One clubs received £150,000, while League Two sides were given £100,000, which puts them in a stronger financial position to test.


If the SFA does give the greenlight for football below the Championship to resume, any decision on when the Highland League would be restart would still rest with the division’s league management committee.


Article accessed via EveningExpress.co.uk

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