Coronavirus: Scottish football suspension extended until June 10

Celtic's Scott Brown, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths look dejected after a match.
Celtic's Scott Brown, Greg Taylor, Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths look dejected after a match.PHOTO: REUTERS

GLASGOW (AFP) - The suspension of the Scottish football season has been extended until at least June 10 due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials announced on Thursday (April 9).

League football was halted on March 13 because of the spread of Covid-19, with the season put on hold until April 30.

But a further delay has now been agreed and this week will see lower league clubs voting before Friday's 1600 GMT deadline on whether to end their respective seasons now.

The new date applies to both professional and recreational football.

"The message is very clear," said Scottish FA president Rod Petrie. "The government restrictions introduced to save lives must be adhered to and there is no prospect of an early resumption of training, let alone organised football in Scotland for several weeks."

The hope remains the top-flight Scottish Premiership can be given "the best possible opportunity" to finish, but it would be decided on points won per match if the remaining games cannot be played.

Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic, bidding for a ninth successive league crown, are currently 13 points clear of second-placed Rangers with eight matches remaining, although their Glasgow rivals have a game in hand.

But no decision on the Scottish Premiership will be taken until after Uefa's executive board meeting on April 23.

European football's governing body's ultimatum to national leagues that a failure to complete the season could lead to exclusion from European competition has left the continent's less wealthy leagues, like Scotland, in limbo.

The existing broadcast contract for the Scottish Premiership is reportedly worth a total of just £21 million (S$37 million) annually.

Clubs can therefore little afford to miss out on European competition, with even those who do not participate eligible for solidarity payments from Uefa.