THE SFA has extended the ban on all football outside the top two divisions until Sunday February 14 – and suspended Scottish Cup games scheduled for later this month.

The news came after what the association called a “full consultation” with leagues and clubs affected by the January suspension.

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SFA bosses have extended the break in the lower league season

The first and second division teams had drawn up a plan called the Route to Playing Again, which included an obligation to run tests to start over in March.

The SFA says they will offer another update on Wednesday February 10th.

A statement said: “Given that the lockdown measures implemented by the First Minister will remain in place across Scotland until at least mid-February, the existing temporary suspension of football will be extended to Sunday 14 February at midnight.

“This affects leagues with mostly part-time clubs – although a number of full-time clubs are affected.

“The Scottish Federation will continue to work with stakeholders to develop league and department-specific plans for a return to training and play, including adequate training and conditioning time.

“These circumstances vary in our game and are constantly being reviewed, with the game restarting expected to be gradual. Another update will be released by Wednesday, February 10th.

“The Scottish Cup fourth round matches, scheduled for February 20th, will now be canceled and all ties will be postponed and the information will be provided in due course.

“As a result, Saturday, February 20th can be published as the game date for league games.

“The Scottish Federation will continue to work with colleagues from the Scottish Professional Football League to include the unbalanced Scottish Cup games when it is deemed safe and practical to do so.

Rod Petrie, Scottish FA President, said: “The discussions we have had with representatives of the clubs and leagues affected by the suspension have been extremely beneficial.

“We were able to further communicate the reasons for the decision amid an ongoing pandemic while hearing firsthand the key issues clubs and leagues face at every level of the game.”

“We are also very encouraged by the sense of togetherness among the clubs and the robustness with which protocols and measures have been implemented in the interests of the safety of players and staff in football.

“A number of initiatives have been proposed that can help make the game efficient again without compromising security.

“The decision to extend the suspension is necessary as the Scottish Government is itself extending the existing lockdown measures.

“Football will do its part to support the collective effort to reduce the spread of the new variants of the COVID-19 virus.

“We appreciate the input from all the groups participating in our online discussions this week and will be in touch with you before our next public update on February 10th.”