Celtic will not train together until at least June 10th, with the Scottish FA extending the suspension of football at all levels of the game in Scotland until at least then.
In a statement released following a videoconference call meeting, the governing body also considers that a six-week period of training and conditioning will be needed beyond that, before real action can begin.
The statement read, in part: “The Scottish FA board has also given due consideration to a letter received by the Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe FitzPatrick, drawing attention to the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, which banned public gatherings of more than two people.
“Mr FitzPatrick stated that these restrictions were unlikely to be lifted for at least 13 weeks and that NHS Scotland had been placed on an emergency footing until at least 10 June 2020. Mr FitzPatrick indicated that no group training would be permitted before the legal restrictions are lifted and noted the medical advice that competitive matches could not take place for about six weeks after training and conditioning recommenced.
“This was consistent with the advice of the Scottish FA’s Medical Consultant, as well as UEFA’s confirmation on a recent videoconference that its fixture calendar working group was now looking at dates beyond June 2020 for the resumption of its competitions across Europe.”
It means that there will likely be no competitive action until July at the earliest, with the season unlikely to be completed until late August, even if it’s possible to stick to these dates.
A six-week ‘pre-season’ might seem excessive but when you consider that by June 10th players will have had a three-month gap in real training, it seems prudent to allow extra time to get up to fitness.
The update massively shrinks the window in which the 2019/20 Scottish Premiership campaign can be completed and, for me, casts further doubt on any proposals to extend the wait on a decision to call the tables as is.
Clubs need clarity and need to plan ahead.
With the guidance now clear that it’ll be two months until training can even take place, there is no reason to delay the SPFL proposals to end the Scottish Premiership season.