SFA and West of Scotland League officials are set to meet for crunch talks at Hampden later today on whether the current suspension on football being played at tiers six and seven can be lifted any time soon.

Already this week, a working group representing League One and Two clubs put forward a well-documented proposal to resume training sessions in February with a view to playing competitive matches in March dubbed 'A Route To Playing Agai'  which is based upon clubs making a number of major concessions, most notably the carrying out of coronavirus tests on all players and backroom staff at a cost of £6K per week.

This is believed to be a crippling operational expense, way beyond the means of most if not all 48 WOSFL clubs, whose chairman Dave McKenna says if testing is mandatory it could be a barrier for lower league players and clubs returning to football.

He insists clubs will only return when it is absolutely safe to do so and says testing is just one of the ideas on the table to achieve this aim, however his arguments on behalf of the WOSFL are likely to come up against a strong pushback from the game's governing body, not least of all SFA president Rod Petrie, whose imposing a lower league suspension earlier this month was qualified by the accompanying statement:

“While the national sport has been afforded the privilege of elite sporting exemption, the risk of mass transportation of untested, largely part-time players is something that cannot be sustained as the cases continue to rise and available hospital beds become increasingly scarce.

“After discussions with the SPFL, the Premiership and Championship will continue on the proviso that both adhere to the existing testing regime."

The current suspension remaining in force for the foreseeable will come as a massive blow to the WOSFL interim Management Group who have moved 'heaven and earth' in attempts to play out their leagues to a conclusion.

The growing realisation that time restraints (the season must conclude by end of April) look likely to prevent the playing of all scheduled fixtures sparked a recent review by officials which somewhat inventively saw agreement reached to play only 50% of the campaigns before awarding titles on an average-points-per-game basis.

A website statement by Secretary Kennie Young ratified how the new format would work:


“Following the recent SG announcement regarding the continuation of lockdown, the IMG have reviewed the situation of continuation and completion of our League Competitions.

"It has been decided that we will withdraw all current fixtures. A new list will be drawn up that will take into account what we need to do to get us to a point where Champions can be declared.

"No dates will be put on these fixtures, they will be referred to a `Match-Days`…Match-Day 1, Match-Day2, Match-Day3 etc. and when we get a restart date, Match-Day 1 will be played on that day. Match-Day 2 will be played on the next available date

"The fixtures have been rescheduled and have been recast in such a way that our aim is to get to a point where a minimum of 50% of games have been played and where all teams will have played each of the other teams in their Division at least once.

"It has also been decided that if a game is postponed due to pitch problems that the game will be re-scheduled  to be played within 11 days of the postponement date. This will help us achieve the aforementioned targets of all teams playing each other at least once and getting us over the 50% required to declare the Champions on P.P.G.

"I have the fixtures ready and hope to publish them soon.

"We have a meeting with the S.F.A. this week and the agenda includes an update on the current suspension. “

This audacious resuscitation plan, thought to have been primarily put together to enable the Premier Division champions elect to participate in the Lowland League play-offs, might prove to be of no avail if today’s meeting at the National Stadium results in WOSFL officials failing to secure a restart date from the SFA.

Qualification for the Lowland League play-offs also depends on clubs passing a  licensing inspection in mid-February so it might be more power to David McKenna’s elbow ahead of today’s talks to know current table-toppers Clydebank and title challengers Darvel, Kilwinning Rangers and Irvine Meadow are on the verge of getting the thumbs up.