All systems go for football and Falkirk after SFA green light

Falkirk’s August 24 pre-season plans are ready to roll after clubs were given the go ahead to resume training.

By David Oliver
Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Saturday, 22nd August 2020, 8:23 pm
David McCracken and Lee Miller will be back on the training ground.
David McCracken and Lee Miller will be back on the training ground.

The Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League joint response group announced that training could resume from Monday in a statement yesterday.

That had always been the plan for the Bairns, who were not affected by the enforced suspension of the senior game, outside of the Premiership, prompted by the actions of players at Celtic and Aberdeen.

Eight of the Dons players, plus defender Boli Bolingoli, breached coronavirus prevention measures, enraging First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and leading to the JRG to act.

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However the ban has been lifted and training can resume from Monday – as was always the plan for Lee Miller and David McCracken.

In the statement SFA President and JRG chairman Rod Petrie said: “This is a significant and hugely positive step forward for the whole of Scottish football and means that training can resume for both the professional and grassroots game from Monday.

“I understand the sacrifices players, coaches and clubs have been forced to make to get to this point but the health of the nation remains our absolute priority. Through the JRG and its grassroots sub group we have worked hard since yesterday’s announcement from the First Minister to put the latest government advice into context for the professional and non-professional game and to make the message as clear and as simple as possible.

“Training can resume on Monday in line with government’s ongoing social distancing measures and advice and, if the virus continues to be contained in Scotland, then the path to competitive football matches being played by October is tangible.

“We must continue to be vigilant and respect the guidance and protocols that are in place but on the JRG calls with Championship, League One and League Two today you could sense the anticipation to get football back and I know from my board colleague, Thomas McKeown, that the announcement has been met with similar excitement across the grassroots game.”

Mr McKeown, Chair of the JRG Grassroots Sub Group added: “We are pleased to move into the next phase of our routemap and the resumption of contact training and small-sided games within clubs at both adult and youth football is an extremely positive step forward.

“We wholly appreciate how keen everyone is to return fully to the game by restarting leagues and match activity but we also appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we move at the pace that we hope will ensure that as many people return to the game as possible by creating a welcoming, fun and, most importantly, safe environment for all.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive added: “This is a major milestone in getting our game fully up and running again. It’s hard to overstate the significance of this development for clubs outwith the Premiership, who can now start preparing with confidence for the Betfred Cup on October.

“The next crucial step will be allowing Scottish football fans back into games, based on the comprehensive range of safety measures which have been developed by clubs in close consultation with health experts. Discussions on pilot events at Premiership matches are now under way and everyone is determined, for the sake of the Scottish game as a whole, to ensure these go smoothly and safely.”