Raith Rovers will have to forfeit Saturday’s match against Inverness Caley Thistle unless the SPFL grant them a postponement after an ‘outbreak’ of Covid-19 left them without enough players to make up a team.
The Stark’s Park side have applied to the governing body for the encounter to be called off after multiple cases of coronavirus were discovered in the playing squad and backroom staff.
A number of players were already self-isolating because of close contacts contracting the virus.
However, although all are understood to be well and asymptomatic, further cases were picked up this week by the new mandatory testing introduced by the Scottish FA for all Championship clubs.
Challenges facing football
The Kirkcaldy outfit are keeping tight-lipped on the numbers and identity of those involved but it has decimated the squad to such an extent they say they cannot field a side this weekend.
The tests were carried out on Tuesday and directors explored all options before requesting the postponement.
Former chairman Bill Clark, who returned to the Rovers boardroom in October after stepping down in August, is adamant Raith have done all they can to keep the virus from the club.
But he says rising cases in wider society have made it difficult to prevent the virus from spreading to the club.
He said: “It could be a member of your family going out shopping to the supermarket, or whatever.
“You just don’t know and because it’s spreading so quickly in the community you can’t tell.
“It’s rife in the community and unfortunately we’ve found ourselves in this position.
“But I’d be surprised if we’re the only Championship team this happens to.
“I see that Carlisle United have had to call off their next three games and there was Aston Villa having to call off.
“So, I don’t think we’ll be only ones up there, to be honest.
Lack of options for Raith Rovers
“The SPFL, the SFA and the NHS are all involved in this now and we’ve done everything at the stadium that we could possibly do.
“We’ve now closed down the stadium, potentially until Monday morning.
“All the directors and senior staff at the club have been discussing the situation since the results came back on Wednesday evening.
“We’ve been looking at possible options but the only option we could come up with, eventually, was to apply for a postponement.
“If the SPFL don’t grant us a postponement we would have to forfeit the game.”
Raith are scheduled to face Hearts at Tynecastle a week on Saturday, followed by the visit of the Jambos the following Tuesday in a rescheduled encounter.
Clark is confident Rovers will be able to fulfil those fixtures.
He added: “We’ve got a game against Hearts at Tynecastle on Saturday and then against Hearts at home the following Tuesday.
“But after this Saturday we have players coming back, because it’s not just the players who were tested on Tuesday, we had a number of players who were self-isolating prior to that, partly because it was in their families and their households.
“They will come back so we should have enough players for next Saturday and the Tuesday. It’s just this one game that would be affected.”