THE SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group today published a list of answers to questions they have been asked by their member clubs amid the mounting coronavirus crisis.

1. Why was the decision taken to suspend Scottish football matches?

The decision was taken in the interest of public health and in the light of both Scottish and UK government announcements as the country entered the "delay" phase of the global coronavirus pandemic.

After extensive follow-up discussions between the football authorities, the Scottish government and football bodies in England and abroad, it was decided by the board of the Scottish FA that suspension until further notice was the only course of action that could protect public health whilst providing clarity for the game in line with UK Medical Officer’s advice.

The decision protects not just the general public but specifically supporters, players, club personnel, match officials and everyone involved in putting on match day events. It also reduces the burden on medical staff and the emergency services at a time when they are required to respond to the pandemic.

2. Is there a possibility that this season will be cancelled completely?

The preference remains that season 2019/20 will be played to completion. However, Scottish football has been suspended until further notice and the joint response group will continue to discuss the developments regarding the virus on a daily basis.

The Scottish FA will take guidance from governments, the UK Chief Medical Officers, the Scottish FA medical consultant, Dr John MacLean, and information provided by the World Health Organisation.

Given the ever-changing landscape of the virus in Scotland – as with countries across the world – the Scottish FA will only lift the suspension when it is deemed safe to do so from the perspective of public health, but also the safety of all stakeholders including supporters, players, match officials and staff.

3. Why couldn’t SPFL matches be played behind closed doors/televised, where practical?

This was one of the options considered and an approach that has been adopted in various countries. However, it was the unanimous view of the Scottish FA board that this approach could compromise the health and safety of other key stakeholders, not least players, match officials and staff, as well as necessitating the attendance of emergency services and medical staff.

4. What are the implications for championships, promotions and relegation?

The joint response group is engaged in a contingency planning phase that will assess all possible options for the remaining season and beyond. It would be inappropriate and unhelpful to speculate on any future decisions to be taken by competition organisers. We will, however, commit to updating clubs, supporters and other key stakeholders when appropriate in this fast-moving landscape.

5. Why have grassroots football matches been postponed when fewer than 500 people attend these matches anyway?

The board of the Scottish FA felt it appropriate to provide clear instructions to the non-professional and grassroots games when a decision was made to suspend senior professional football.

To reiterate, this decision was taken based on public health, the commitments of emergency and medical services, and also on the safety of those involved in the game, which applies from senior professional football to the lowest grassroots ages.

This decision is also designed to protect the volunteer network that supports the grassroots game, in line with UK Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

6. Does your advice include preventing training at professional and grassroots level?

Each club, regardless of whether professional or recreational, has the responsibility to make decisions that keep its players, coaches, support staff and other employees safe. PFA Scotland has issued its own guidance to players and we are committed to supporting our members with individual advice.

Having taken medical advice, the Scottish FA board recommends that no training or conditioning in groups should take place for the time being. This recommendation covers all levels of the game. Further updates on this will be given as and when further medical advice is received.

7. What will the Scottish FA/SPFL be doing to support clubs who may experience financial difficulties as a result?

The Scottish FA and SPFL are currently reviewing all their commercial contracts to understand the financial implications of the disruption so far.

The SPFL advances club fees across the season. The next such payment is due to be made in April. It remains the intention of the SPFL Board to make April’s scheduled payment to clubs.

Likewise, the Scottish FA is investigating ways in which support can be established in respect of advanced payment of distribution moneys and other ways in which we can help minimise the burden for members, where practicable.

As per an earlier joint response group update, the SPFL and the Scottish FA strongly advise clubs at all levels to review their insurance policies.

8. What will be the impact of the UEFA Nations League Play-Offs being postponed or cancelled?

We await the outcome of the videoconference to be hosted by UEFA’s Executive Committee with representative from 55 countries, the Board of the European Clubs Association and representatives from the European Leagues, the ECA and FIFPro on 17 March.

We will update supporters – especially those who have purchased tickets for the match at Hampden Park against Israel – when we have a decision on whether the match will go ahead as scheduled on March 26. We expect to receive information on UEFA Euro 2020 on this call and will update accordingly afterwards.

Euro 2020 play-off and Scottish Cup decisions to be made following UEFA talks tomorrow