First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement, capping outdoor events including sports fixtures and concerts to just 500 spectators, plunged the Scottish football calendar into doubt for the three festive period matchdays affected ahead of the winter break.
After initial talks between sport authorities, clubs and broadcaster Sky Sports over the immediate future of the clashes, it has been claimed that as many as 10 of the top flight clubs would be in favour of bringing the planned January fortnight shutdown forward on account of the lack of supporters and gate receipts.
The top 22 clubs, in the cinch Premiership and Championship, will hold further crisis talks with the Scottish Professional Football League at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon. The lower league clubs in League One and League Two will follow at 5pm to plot out their route forward.
League officials have already written to clubs about the crowd crisis and the SPFL board will make the ultimate decision on the future though no formal vote will be taken, according to STV Sport.
Clubs are expected to be given three options to discuss – play on, stop after Boxing Day or stop after Wednesday’s fixtures.
It will then be up to the league board – Hibs owner Ron Gordon, Rangers general manager Stewart Robertson and James McDonald of Ross County, plus Championship reps Les Gray (Hamilton) and Ross McArthur (Dunfermline) – to inform a decision on the way forward. Forfar’s Alastair Donald will also be around the virtual talks table on behalf of the two lower leagues with CEO Neil Doncaster, chairman Murdo McLennan and director Karyn McCluskey completing the set-up.
Three matches are still scheduled for Wednesday night as it stands; St Mirren v Celtic, Hibs v Aberdeen and St Johnstone v Livingston are due to go ahead without limits on attendance, however Deputy First Minister John Swinney has urged fans to stay at home.
The Paisley side also sought a postponement based on a virus outbreak earlier this week.