Due to instances of Scottish teams failing to comply with the Scottish FA’s COVID-19 protocol, our training – which started last Saturday (August 8) – has now been put on hold again until August 24.

Understandably, we find this news incredibly frustrating, having put a lot of time, effort and financial resource into ensuring that training could go ahead within the strict – but fair – guidelines implemented.

Nevertheless, we are continuing to work hard behind the scenes to ensure that when training does return, we are operating within these guidelines, while also ensuring that Shielfield Park is COVID-19 secure for when fans are allowed back at matches.

Read the full update from the Scottish FA’s Joint Response Group below:

The Joint Response Group today outlines a wide range of measures agreed with the Scottish Government to reinforce Scottish football’s commitment to public health and adherence to protocols. 

These measures have been approved by the JRG and follow extensive discussions with Scottish Government Ministers and health advisers. 

They are as follows:

ENFORCEMENT

The JRG has worked to ensure that existing rules will be strengthened to include the provision of sanctions for players who do not adhere to COVID-specific football protocols or government public health guidelines. This will encompass recent breaches and further details will be provided tomorrow. 

EVALUATION

In order to provide government health officials with the necessary confidence that Scottish football can return safely and in accordance with relevant government guidelines and football protocols, the Scottish FA has agreed that the return to training for clubs outwith the SPFL Premiership – which includes all organised adult football over-18 – will be delayed until at least 24 August, pending updated government guidance on the 20th. This is to ensure that:

  • All club facilities comply with the current JRG Protocols, social distancing and hygiene measures. 
  • All club policies and procedures comply with the current protocols and government guidance.
  • Club testing regimes in the professional game comply with the protocols.
  • Players and staff at all levels of the game have been reminded of the latest government guidance. 

EDUCATION

Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director for Scotland, has produced a video message outlining, in the clearest terms, what professional footballers can and cannot do within the existing government guidelines. This message will be reinforced on a regular basis via digital communication. 

ENGAGEMENT

The SPFL and Scottish FA have gifted Scottish Government advertising space to promote public health messaging on matchdays in-stadia, using LED advertising and via other owned assets for all SPFL competitions and the William Hill Scottish Cup semi- finals and final.

Rod Petrie, Joint Response Group Chair: “The message from First Minister could not have been clearer. The JRG must now ensure that the planned resumption of football beyond the Scottish Premiership is done in a controlled manner with the strictest adherence to protocols and guidelines.

“The pause on the return to training for the professional game outwith the Scottish Premiership will not impact on the proposed start dates of the respective league competitions but will give sufficient time to reinforce protocols, educate players and make sure of the ability of clubs in the lower divisions to conform.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive: “Today’s measures underline the fact that Scottish football is doing everything it possibly can to protect our game. The recent, high-profile breaches must be used as further motivation for all those with our game’s best interests at heart to comply absolutely with these necessary restrictions and safeguards.”

Additional guidance notes

1. Glasgow City Women’s FC can continue to train in preparation for their UEFA Women’s Champions League tie against Wolfsburg on 21 August and will be visited to audit and verify compliance.
2. Heart of Midlothian FC has been informed of the need to pause their current training programme until at least 24 August.
3. Adult (over-18) recreational football will not be permitted to participate in any form of organised training. 
4. Youth (under-18) football can continue in line with current Scottish Government guidance.