Ian Maxwell: Scottish FA faces ‘challenge’ to keep all 42 senior clubs in business

Ian Maxwell says the Scottish FA will work to help cover the cost of testing

The Scottish Football Association faces a “challenge” to ensure all 42 senior clubs survive the coronavirus crisis, says chief executive Ian Maxwell.

The financial implications of the shutdown in place since March are being felt all across all four divisions.

The SPFL hopes to resume playing in August, although Championship sides Ayr United and Queen of the South say this would be impossible without subsidies.

Maxwell told BBC Scotland maintaining 42 clubs is “our absolute aim”.

Speaking on Sportsound, he added: “We have a real desire to make sure that that’s exactly what we have. That is going to be a challenge. There’s no doubt about that. The clubs are having to make really difficult decisions.”

Hearts are preparing a reconstruction proposal amid suggestions some lower-league clubs are minded to mothball next season because of financial concerns.

And Maxwell, who is optimistic extra funding can be secured from world governing body Fifa, believes the landscape of Scottish football will be “different”.

“We may not have it in the format that we are used to seeing it but I don’t think that that is a bad thing if it means that all the clubs that we’ve got come out the other side,” he said.

“We’ll have to be adaptable, we’ll have to be creative.”

Testing players, staff and officials for Covid-19 will be requirement for training and games to resume, and Maxwell confirmed the Scottish FA will “play a part in making that as affordable as we possibly can” for clubs.

He expects it to cost “less than half” the previous estimate of £4,500 for each club per week.

Maxwell also insists last season’s Scottish Cup, which had reached the semi-final stage, will be completed but says that the remaining matches could be played as late as 2021.

He does, however, accept the prospect of doing so with a “significant number” of fans at Hampden is “dwindling”.

‘Uefa want October date for play-off’

Scotland are to host Israel for a Euro play-off final away to Norway or Serbia

Scotland’s Euro 2020 play-off against Israel at Hampden, postponed from 26 March, has been pencilled in for October by Uefa, says Maxwell.

The Scottish FA chief executive said that remains unconfirmed but that dates are expected soon.

However, with different travel and quarantine restrictions in place across Europe, Maxwell accepts the return of international football is mired in complications.

“The difficulty is that every country is at different stages of going through this virus,” he said. Nobody can give us any real clarity.”