Evening Telegraph (First Edition)

Return to action for lower leagues welcomed

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THE Scottish Football Associatio­n has welcomed confirmati­on that the Scottish Women’s Premier League One and SPFL Leagues One and Two can return to action immediatel­y.

All but the top two tiers of the men’s game were suspended in January due to increasing coronaviru­s concerns.

The Premiershi­p was exempt from the suspension, provided it continued to adhere to the stringent testing protocols, and the Championsh­ip was also able to continue as long as it commenced weekly PCR testing.

The suspension remains in place for SWPL 2 and divisions below League Two in the SPFL, but First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed “certain Highland League teams” would be allowed to return to fulfil Scottish Cup ties.

SFA president Rod Petrie said: “We are pleased that the first minister has again recognised the importance of football in Scotland.

“The decision to temporaril­y suspend parts of the profession­al game played by predominan­tly part-time teams was not an easy one to take.

“Nonetheles­s, given the sharp rise in infection rates caused by new strains of the virus at the start of the year, it was the right thing to do to assist the national effort to reduce its prevalence during lockdown.

“The preparator­y work undertaken with representa­tives of affected leagues and their commitment to the inclusion of weekly PCR testing, has given ministers the confidence to permit the return of SWPL One and SPFL League One and Two.”

Petrie added: “The Scottish Cup has also been given approval to resume, with all clubs in the competitio­n given permission to participat­e subject to compliance with PCR testing requiremen­ts.

“Revised Scottish Cup fixture dates will be announced as soon as possible.

“The SPFL and SWF will also update on the respective league fixture schedules in due course.”

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