THIS Thursday it will be exactly a year since Scotland beat Jamaica 3-2 in front of a record crowd for a women's international at Hampden. The World Cup send-off match was played to a backdrop of excitement and optimism, setting the tone for four weeks of unprecedented media coverage and public interest.

Despite this, and with dismal predictability, STV contrived three nights ago to air a 30 minute programme on the huge challenges facing Scottish football without making a single reference to the women's game. When the (female) presenter asked Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell a question about the national team, she wasn't referring to the one which actually qualifies for tournaments.

That is reflected within the sport itself, where all the focus in the various working groups is on how quickly and safely the men's Premiership can return. That is understandable, as many, many more jobs and livelihoods are at stake, but makes it difficult for other voices to be heard.

The longer women's teams remain inactive, the bigger the danger of not just the massive gains of the last twelve months being reversed, but that some teams may not exist in their present form when football returns. The UK government's furlough scheme has protected the jobs of full time players and coaches at Rangers as well as Celtic, but is not indefinite, while Glasgow City and Forfar Farmington have signed players from other countries who need the shutdown to end.

Having spoken, off the record, to many stakeholders in SWPL clubs there is an understandable anxiety, in the top league especially, for football to return as soon as is safely possible. The most optimistic resumption is the autumn, but with even the third and fourth tiers of men's football – Leagues 1 and 2 – now having to come to terms with the possibility of no more games in 2020, where does that leave the SWPL?

Between a rock and a hard place is the obvious answer. A Zoom meeting between coaches and officials of most of the 18 clubs on Wednesday evening laid bare the huge obstacles which lie ahead. There is, however, one sliver of good news.

Had the SWPL been lumped in with grassroots football – as many feared it would despite no less than the Home Office declaring SWPL1 a professional league for visa purposes – the prospects of any games this year would have reduced. However, both top divisions will now indeed be considered professional by the Scottish government (the reasoning being that “performance” sport is regarded as a more accurate term than “professional”).

Such sports are scheduled to ease out of the lockdown in phase two of Scotland's road map. That should be next month, but the flip side is that possibly insurmountable protocols will have to be followed to comply with health and safety standards.

These have yet to be specified, but will almost certainly include rigorous testing of all players and staff involved in games. The current estimates are that such tests could cost between £8,000-£10,000 a week as they would have to be done twice weekly.

That is going to be a huge ask for all but the very top men's teams. If these are indeed the standards, it's almost impossible to see either of the two Scottish Building Society-sponsored leagues resuming in the autumn.

There are two sources of Scottish FA funding which could potentially help – a large tranche of Fifa money from World Cup qualifying which has yet to be allocated, and the association's HatTrick money from Uefa to rebuild the football community.

It is questionable, however, if drug testing is the best way to use either windfall. That would leave the Scottish government as the only body able to provide assistance - although testing costs could also become less prohibitive in the interim.

The second huge problem is that games will initially have to be played in approved stadia which also meet the highest health and safety standards. That presumably rules out all the SWPL grounds, with the possible exceptions of Forfar, Hamilton and Kilmarnock.

If such stringent standards are set, the only hope for SWPL clubs would be to somehow play their games at the “hub” stadia chosen for men's Premiership football. That would be difficult but not impossible, with such matches also played behind closed doors.

As in life generally, the clubs with the most at stake financially are understandably the keenest to get back playing as soon as possible. Others, made up of players who have day jobs – some of them as key workers – may be more cautious.

Working collaboratively gives everybody the best chance of finding a solution.