The Scottish FA Grassroots sub group welcome the most recent announcement of the planned move through the route map process and the commitment of Scottish Government to restart sport at all levels.
Whilst indicative dates have been issued at this stage, we will be working closely with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and wider partners to progress plans for the return of football in a safe manner. This will include the preparation and approval of appropriate protocols and guidance to allow the return of contact sports.
Further to the Scottish FA statement issued on 29 July, it remains clear that a phased return will require to be staged over a period of weeks, in line with the Scottish Government three-weekly review cycle.
At present the Scottish FA suspension of training and match play activity remains in place for all clubs with players aged 18 and over, unless given express permission by the Scottish FA Board.
For clarity, all teams involving players 18 years and over can only engage in non-contact, socially distanced training in line with Scottish Government guidance and this must be adhered to by all clubs.
It is important to note that the indicative date of 24 August for a return to contact training does not allow any full match play activity to take place at that stage. This stage may allow adult outdoor contact sports to begin along with increased group sizes for training. This will be followed by permission for local friendly matches and games to begin, however this will be no earlier than 11 September and finally a possible return to competitive matches with restrictions in place from 1 October.
All of the above will be based on the continued progress against the virus and it should be understood that these dates and stages are indicative and remain subject to change.
At this present time there are no changes to the guidelines for football. We would like to reiterate that public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority and that we have a responsibility to do what we can to continue to suppress the spread of the virus and prevent a second wave. By not following the government and medical guidance, the restart of football for all will be endangered.
Further details and guidelines remain available on the Return to Football Hub here.
The Grassroots Sub-Group once again thank all the clubs and volunteers that continue to follow the guidance as this adherence will enable us to move forward through the stages set out above.
Thomas McKeown, Scottish FA Board Director and Chair of the JRG Grassroots Sub Group