SEVERAL of Scotland’s leading clubs face going out of business due to the indefinite suspension of domestic football unless they receive urgent emergency funding from the SFA and SPFL, it was last night claimed.

The Joint SFA and SPFL Coronavirus Response Group last night issued an update after SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell and president Rod Petrie took part in a UEFA videoconference call yesterday morning.

Maxwell confirmed the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals – which were scheduled to be played between Aberdeen and Celtic and Hearts and Hibernian at Hampden next month – have been postponed.

However, the joint response group, who are waiting to receive further information from a UEFA working group, was unable to give any indication when the Scottish Cup, Ladbrokes Premiership or other senior leagues would be able to resume.

And Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool, warned the absence of match day income will have drastic repercussions for cash-strapped clubs in this country in the coming weeks.

The joint response group revealed on Monday that SPFL payments to their member clubs would be made as normal next month and the SFA were examining if future distribution monies could be handed out in advance.

But Ann Budge, the Hearts owner, yesterday revealed the shutdown, which was only announced on Friday, had already left a £1 million void in the Tynecastle club’s finances and described the situation as “serious”.

Budge, whose 75.1 majority shareholding was due to be transferred to the Foundation of Hearts supporters’ group imminently, had budgeted for an income of £500,000 from four upcoming home fixtures and expected the Gorgie club to bank the same amount from the semi-final.

“In the blink of an eye, £1 million that we anticipated having as income in April has gone,” she said. "That has a huge impact on any club. All clubs will have similar problems, maybe not to the same extent, but that's money we thought we would have that we won't have.

“Add to that the fact that we've spent a lot on infrastructure. Why? So that we can actually run events and have an income stream outside of football. We can't run events any more. From Friday, we were having all sorts of things cancelled. Our non-football income has also taken a hit.

“We've had the immediate impact of cancelling the games, we've got the knock-on effect to the rest of our business. We've got the uncertainty of when we can put our season tickets on sale.

“On top of that, the potential to be relegated with the financial issues that takes. There is no point in me pretending. This is a serious situation.”

Maguire said: “The longer it drags and the longer there are no more matches this season the more potential damage it can do to individual clubs. I can’t see how individual clubs can survive with no money coming in from the second week in March until August.

“I don’t think the SFA or SPFL have much cash, but if some short-term interest-free loans could come from the industry it would be a fantastic gesture, a show of solidarity within Scottish football and in the best long-term interests of the game as well.”