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Scottish Premiership given formal go ahead to start new season on 1st August

The Scottish Premiership season will kick off on 1st August after receiving written approval from the Scottish government.

The Scottish FA confirmed the plan, which comes in the wake of the first minister's announcement of phase three of the route out of lockdown.

The government has also confirmed that clubs can arrange friendly matches with immediate effect.

That is provided players are subject to weekly testing from 13 July.

With the Premiership kick-off only three weeks away, Rangers and Hamilton Academical poised to be the first to play with a friendly at the Rangers training ground on Friday afternoon.

Both friendly and competitive games will be held behind closed doors without the presence of fans, with players facing once-weekly testing for Covid-19.

The Scottish FA board is discussing an appropriate timeline for the phased lifting of its suspension for other parts of the professional and non-professional game - including the remaining three SPFL divisions, the Scottish football pyramid, women's football and grassroots.

Details of the phased lifting of suspension will be announced shortly.

Interim SFA president Mike Mulraney said: "Scottish football, and the millions of fans for whom the national game is a fabric of their daily lives, are now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

"The first minister's updated guidance also gives great encouragement for boys and girls across the country that grassroots football for under-18s will soon return."

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster also welcomed the news.

"Today's approvals are a significant step forward for Scottish Premiership clubs and provide the necessary clarity to prepare for the new season," he said.

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