Lower-league football in Scotland has been suspended for three weeks because of Covid-19.

Divisions below the Championship have seen their league campaigns paused by the Scottish Football Association board.

That includes Annan Athletic, who are seventh in Scottish League Two after 10 games.

Gretna FC 2008, who compete in the Scottish Lowland League, have also seen their season paused.

It follows a meeting last night of the FA board in response to rising coronavirus cases across the country.

The impacted leagues are SPFL League One, SPFL League Two, Scottish Women’s Football Premier Leagues 1 and 2, Highland League, Lowland League, East, West & South of Scotland Leagues, Scottish Junior FA Leagues and the North Caledonian League.

The suspension of the game will run until January 31 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis by the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government, a statement said.

The Scottish Cup will also be suspended, with any matches scheduled to be played before February 1 to be rescheduled.

Annan, managed by former Carlisle United favourite Peter Murphy, were due to be in Scottish Cup action tomorrow in their rearranged Second Round trip to Formartine United.

The winners will host Premiership side Motherwell.

Premiership and Championship leagues will continue, with the Premiership expected to "continue to adhere to the stringent testing protocols" and Championship asked to begin weekly testing.

The SPFL Championship will also be able to continue provided it commences weekly PCR testing.

Rod Petrie, Scottish FA President, said in a statement: “The Scottish FA is well aware of the efforts all clubs take to comply with the exacting protocols that were conditional on elite football being given an exemption to continue amid the pandemic.

“Nonetheless, the continuation of football at all levels has weighed increasingly heavy on me as President, my colleagues on the board and the Joint Response Group as we have watched the new strain of the virus spread rapidly.

“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.

“After discussions with the SPFL, the Premiership and Championship will continue on the proviso that both adhere to the existing testing regime. The vast majority of teams in those divisions are full-time professional clubs and so the risk of transmission remains manageably low. The cost implications to lower-division clubs was one factor but so too the realisation that many – with some notable exceptions – consist of part-time players who are either prevented from working due to the virus or have to work.

“In either case, the risk is currently too great amid the developing nationwide spread of the virus.

“Much has been said of football’s relationship with the Scottish Government during the pandemic. As President of the Scottish FA and Chair of the Joint Response Group, I am grateful for the clinical expertise provided by government specifically to football and for the timely award of £30m in grant and loan funding for the game. 

“We reiterate our commitment to playing our part in the collective effort to eradicate the virus.”