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SCOTTISH League One and Two clubs will plead with SPFL board for a “short extension” to the season to complete a 22-game campaign.
All but the top two divisions of the men’s game were suspended from January 12 after Scotland adopted tighter social restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it was announced on Tuesday that League One and Two and Highland League clubs which remain in the Scottish Cup are permitted to return to play immediately, with Covid-19 testing requirements.
The country’s major cup competition will resume on March 23, with the season-ending final scheduled for May 22, two weeks later than originally scheduled, with league fixtures rescheduled to suit.
League One and Two clubs, which originally started a 27-game season in October where they were set to play each other three times, released a lengthy statement that, in the wake of discussions with SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, asked for the SPFL board’s preference for an 18-game season to make way for a further four fixtures to give “a competitive end to the season.”
The statement read: “Today, as a united group of 20 clubs, we have advised the SPFL that we plan to resume our season on March 20, with an immediate return to training this week while complying with the testing regime.
“With regret, we accept that a 27-game season is no longer open to us due to the timing of the return.
“We have spoken twice to Neil Doncaster in the last two days to discuss the options open to us in terms of the fixture schedule.
“The SPFL’s preference is for us to complete an 18-game season and we understand why — it is the easiest option, with potentially less pressure on the fixture schedule and no need to make any changes to the length of the season.
“However, the consensus among the 20 clubs is that a 22 [game] league season is the preference, with a split in each league after 18 games, followed by four further games.
“It allows a competitive end to the season that our fans are keen to see and we want to participate in.
“We received money to test and to allow us to keep playing and that is what we want to do, not just run down the clock to the end of the season.
“The issue of player welfare is always a priority for us. But even with the demands of a tightened schedule, players have made it clear that they want to play.
“Covid may also play its part but with the same testing regime and protocols as the Championship and Premiership, we are in no worse a position than they are.
“To complete a 22-game season will mean extending the season to fulfil all fixtures, including those that may have to be rescheduled.
“But this is possible without impacting on anyone other than club 21 (ninth in the Championship) who may have to wait a maximum of two more weeks for the play-offs.”
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