Premiership winter break brought forward

Premiership winter break brought forward

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The Scottish Premiership winter break has been brought forward from 4 January and will begin after Sunday’s fixtures.

The SPFL board made the final decision after clubs were given a deadline of Wednesday 17:00 GMT and three options to choose from – pause as planned on 4 January, begin the break on Monday or before Sunday’s games.

The lower tiers do not have a scheduled winter break and have opted to play on.

The early top-flight shutdown means the postponement of two full fixture cards, including new year derbies in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee.

The Premiership resumes on 17-18 January, while the other round of rearranged matches takes place on 1-2 February.

The SPFL board encouraged clubs not to vote for beginning the break before Sunday due to the few dates available to play games.

Clubs met on Tuesday before informing the SPFL of their preference on Wednesday.

Celtic, Hibernian Motherwell had publicly called for the break to be brought forward, while Aberdeen wanted their upcoming home games with Dundee and Rangers postponed, estimating they stood to lose £500,000 if they went ahead.

The Scottish government announced on Tuesday that, from 26 December, outdoor sporting events in Scotland can have a maximum of 500 people in attendance.

As well as vastly reduced limits on crowd numbers, which are initially in place for three weeks, the first minister also confirmed one metre social distancing will be put in place.

On Tuesday, a statement from the Scottish FA/SPFL joint response group (JRG) said that discussion are ongoing with the Scottish government to ensure any loss of income for clubs due to the new measures are compensated.

More to follow.

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