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Ross County given green light to play friendlies after government grants Premiership clubs permission

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County will be able to play friendlies ahead of the Premiership season after getting the green light from the government.

The Scottish FA and SPFL's joint response group have confirmed that permission has been granted for Premiership clubs to play bounce games at club training grounds and friendly matches inside stadia with immediate effect.

These matches will be arranged behind closed doors, in line with current public health guidance, and including once-weekly testing from Monday 13 July.

Ross County could be back in action this weekend after clubs were given the green light to take the next step from only training. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Ross County could be back in action this weekend after clubs were given the green light to take the next step from only training. Picture: Ken Macpherson

County manager Stuart Kettlewell has previously said that most clubs in the league had arranged games in the hope they would be allowed to play them, amid concerns over the risk of injuries to players if their first matches back were on August 1.

Mike Mulraney, interim Scottish FA president said: “Scottish football, and the millions of fans for whom the national game is a fabric of their daily lives, are now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s approval of the August 1 start date for the Scottish Premiership and the ability for Premiership clubs to prepare for that kick-off immediately.

“The First Minister’s updated guidance also gives great encouragement for boys and girls across the country that grassroots football for under-18s will soon return.

“The JRG has been in daily liaison with government advisers to get us to this point. I would urge everyone to continue to adhere to the public health messages to ensure no complacency as the return to football becomes tantalisingly close.

“We will continue to plan for the return of the game at all levels and communicate milestones at the appropriate time. I would like to pay tribute to the work of the JRG, its sub groups and everyone involved in the game for the efforts that have gotten us to this point.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive added: “Today’s approvals are a significant step forward for Scottish Premiership clubs and provide the necessary clarity to prepare for the new season. The ability for clubs to arrange and participate in friendly matches is important on and off the field as momentum builds towards what will be a welcome and exciting return to Scottish football starting August 1.”

The Scottish FA are also set to discuss a timeline for the phased lifting of its suspension for other parts of the professional and non-professional game – including the remaining three SPFL divisions, the Scottish football pyramid, women’s football and grassroots – in light of the First Minister’s announcement on phase three of the government’s route map out of the Covid-19 crisis.

Read more football news here.

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