THE fate of the Scottish football season will not be decided on the pitch, but in conference calls far away from home. On Tuesday, the UEFA Executive Committee will ultimately be the ones who decide whether the SPFL campaign will have any hope of being played to a conclusion in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

While Scottish clubs call for urgent clarity, the game’s governing bodies are momentarily keeping their powder dry. It isn’t expected that there will be further comment from either the SPFL or the SFA until guidance from those higher authorities is passed down early in the week.

The most likely outcome from those conference calls will be that the European Championships are pushed back a year, theoretically opening up space in the calendar for matches to be played into the summer. Whether that is feasible or not, though, depends upon which country you are in.

Italy, for example, are much farther down the line than the United Kingdom in terms of their contact with coronavirus, and so should be able to pursue their own preferred plan of playing out Serie A in the early summer. Here, though, the virus isn’t expected to peak until much later, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggesting it may be into June before the UK sees the worst effects of the outbreak.

If that indeed proves to be the case, it doesn’t leave much time for matches to be played. Even if next season is pushed back, with the winter break perhaps cancelled to free up more fixture slots, there is the small matter of European qualifiers to be played in early July.

Such matters may seem trivial in the wake of what is happening away from the world of sport, but there are serious consequences and difficulties to whichever path the authorities choose to take.

The preferred option for the vast majority of stakeholders, certainly, would be for the season to be played out no matter how that was achieved. Even Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who has staked Celtic’s claim for the title should the league be abandoned, would rather it was won by playing all 38 games.

His Aberdeen counterpart Derek McInnes agrees, saying: “Whatever we do, whenever we can pick up the games again, whether it’s two weeks, three weeks, two months, the season must get finished.

“Whether it means then impacting on the following season by having a shorter season or whatever, we can’t just pretend what’s happened has not happened.

“We have to fulfil the fixtures for fair play, integrity.”

Former SFA chief executive Stewart Regan was among those proffering a possible solution, in effect discounting the cup competitions next season to allow the league to reach its conclusion.

“Start from where the season stopped when it was postponed and play the final nine or so rounds of fixtures culminating in titles, promotion and relegation,” Regan said on social media. “Include midweeks.

“Squeeze the new league season into a tighter time-frame by freeing up fixture dates currently occupied by FA & League Cup matches. Cancel the winter break next year and use it to catch up.

“Extend the normal ‘end of season’ by two weeks to add further contingency if required.

“For next season all cup games should involve non-first team squad players thus giving opportunities to youth players to show their potential. These should be played midweek to allow first team league matches on the weekend.

“This is not without issue especially for League Cup and FA Cup sponsors, but it means continuity and offers a one-year pragmatic potential solution.”

From an international point of view, there is next to no chance of Scotland’s play-off matches for the Euros taking place on schedule, if at all, but with the championships looking likely to be bumped on a year, that is perhaps not quite as pressing an issue.

The Norwegian Football Federation have already confirmed they have no intention of hosting Serbia for their own play-off semi-final, with the Scots due to travel to face the winners of that tie should they have overcome Israel at Hampden.

It was revealed yesterday that one of Norway’s rising stars, Morten Thorsby, was among five Sampdoria players who had tested positive for COVID-19, and he will now spend 20 days in self-isolation in his home in Genoa.

FIFA themselves have already outlined their own advice, calling for international matches to be shelved for the time-being precisely because of such scenarios, with the fact that countries will be without some of their best talents dwarfed by wider concerns for the health of players and spectators.

UEFA, on Tuesday, are set to follow suit. Once they do, our own authorities may well be able to give clubs, players and fans a clearer picture of the road ahead, but until then, everyone is still fumbling in the dark as they try to get a handle on an unprecedented situation.