THE SFA and SPFL Joint Response Group have appealed to clubs to stop holding training sessions after learning some were still ignoring medical advice about delaying the spread of coronavirus.

The group issued a strongly-worded statement aimed at their member clubs following discussions with their medical consultant Dr John MacLean over the weekend.

It has emerged that many clubs across the country are still operating as normal despite being issued with detailed guidelines by the SFA and receiving advice from the government and UK Medical Officer.

The statement read: "We take this opportunity to remind members in the strongest possible terms that they desist from conducting training sessions under their auspices.

"Not only is this against the guidance issued throughout the game but it also goes against the government and UK Chief Medical Officers’ advice to delay the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19)."

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “I would urge our members, and especially our affiliated national associations responsible for grassroots football, to ensure clubs observe social distancing guidance outlined by government.

“While many of the instances have been anecdotal, I have seen it for myself this weekend. Please stop it. I urge everyone involved in the game to do what we can to safeguard public health as best we can.

“The message from the First Minister, which was reiterated today, could not be clearer when she said ‘the advice that is being given to people is not to be seen as optional’. That applies to football as it does across society.

“We have been in touch today with Jason Leitch, Scotland’s National Clinical Director, and his message is equally clear: do not gather in groups.

"He also outlined the importance of exercise, but that it is done alone, or in very small family groups, whilst observing social distancing guidelines, and advised people to look at the many online classes now offered.”

The joint response group requested that stakeholders circulate the statement as widely as possible and send it to clubs, parents, players, match officials, staff and supporters.

The statement read: "We consistently say that football is a force for good, let’s use that power to spread this message far and wide."