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Scottish Premiership next to postpone indefinitely due to coronavirus

Rangers FC v Celtic FC - Betfred Cup Final

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 08: Steven Gerrard, Manager of Rangers FC (R) consoles Ryan Jack of Rangers FC following defeat in the Betfred Cup Final between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Hampden Park on December 08, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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The Scottish Premiership has become the latest European league to postpone its season amid the growing COVID-19 viral outbreak as all levels of Scottish soccer were frozen amid the growing pandemic.

While the Scottish government left the league wiggle room to play this weekend’s round of fixtures by tabbing Monday as its cutoff date for banning gatherings of 500 or more people, the league decided to suspend all operations with immediate effect. The news comes down ahead of Sunday’s scheduled Old Firm derby between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox.

“Since the guidance outlined by governments last night we have been engaged in extensive dialogue to clarify the position and implications of that guidance for Scottish football,” said Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.

“Today’s announcement is made in the interests of public health but, equally, the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game. This is of paramount importance as the country enters the ‘delay’ phase of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also why the Scottish FA is compelled to ensure that the suspension is cascaded through the non-professional and grassroots games until further notice.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster noted that the league had taken into account decisions from other leagues around Europe, including that from the Premier League which came down earlier Friday morning. “We have been in intensive and detailed discussions since last night and have also been taking on board the experience of our counterparts in England and across Europe.”

“The health and safety of fans, players and officials is absolutely paramount. We have not yet had any confirmed cases of coronavirus amongst players in Scotland, but, given the nature of this outbreak, it seems only a matter of time. We realize that many people will be bitterly disappointed, and we would obviously prefer to be in a position where we can continue as normal, but that’s neither realistic nor possible.”

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