11.01.2021 13:43 h

Scottish football chiefs suspend lower leagues over virus fears

All professional Scottish football below the top two tiers is being suspended due to the worsening coronavirus pandemic, football chiefs announced on Monday.

The Premiership and second-tier Championship will be exempt from the new shutdown provided strict testing protocols are followed.

Britain is struggling to contain a new, more transmissible strain of Covid-19, which has cranked up pressure on the national health service.

The Scottish Football Association board said the suspension had been agreed after a meeting between the Scottish FA and the sports minister.

It will take effect from midnight on Monday.

Scottish FA president Rod Petrie said: "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."

The suspension will last until January 31 and will be regularly reviewed. The Scottish Cup will also be suspended.