DUMBARTON have joined the other clubs in Scottish Leagues One and Two in asking the SPFL board for a short extension to the season – and an abbreviated 22-game campaign.

All but the top two divisions of the men’s game were suspended from January 12 after Scotland adopted tighter social restrictions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

However, it was announced on Tuesday that clubs in League One and Two. and Highland League clubs who remain in the Scottish Cup, would be permitted to return to play immediately, as long as Covid-19 testing requirements are met.

Dumbarton currently lie eighth in League One with 11 points from the nine games they've played so far.

The Scottish Cup will resume on Tuesday, March 23, with the season-ending final scheduled for May 22, two weeks later than originally scheduled, with league fixtures rescheduled to suit.

Dumbarton 1-0 Cove Rangers (Andy Scott)

Dumbarton 1-0 Cove Rangers (Andy Scott)

League One and Two clubs, who originally started a 27-game season in October where they were set to play each other three times, released a lengthy statement which, in the wake of discussions with SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster, asked for the SPFL board’s preference for an 18-game season to make way for a further four fixtures to give “a competitive end to the season”.

The statement read: “Today, as a united group of 20 clubs, we have advised the SPFL that we plan to resume our season on March 20, with an immediate return to training this week while complying with the testing regime.

“With regret, we accept that a 27-game season is no longer open to us due to the timing of the return.

“We have spoken twice to Neil Doncaster in the last two days to discuss the options open to us in terms of the fixture schedule.

Airdrie 0-2 Dumbarton (Andy Scott)

Airdrie 0-2 Dumbarton (Andy Scott)

“The SPFL’s preference is for us to complete an 18-game season and we understand why – it is the easiest option, with potentially less pressure on the fixture schedule and no need to make any changes to the length of the season.

“However, the consensus among the 20 clubs is that a 22 (game) league season is the preference, with a split in each league after 18 games, followed by four further games.

“It allows a competitive end to the season that our fans are keen to see and we want to participate in.

“We received money to test and to allow us to keep playing, and that is what we want to do – not just run down the clock to the end of the season.

“The issue of player welfare is always a priority for us. But even with the demands of a tightened schedule, players have made it clear that they want to play.

Montrose 4-0 Dumbarton (Andy Scott)

Montrose 4-0 Dumbarton (Andy Scott)

“Covid may also play its part, but with the same testing regime and protocols as the Championship and Premiership, we are in no worse a position than they are.

“To complete a 22-game season will mean extending the season to fulfil all fixtures, including those that may have to be rescheduled.

“But this is possible without impacting on anyone other than club 21 (ninth in the Championship) who may have to wait a maximum of two more weeks for the play-offs.”

The statement continued: “With all that has happened to Leagues One and Two, and noting that it is in the gift of the SPFL board to grant a short extension, as almost 50 per cent of the SPFL, we want them to see them work with an increased sense of urgency, to find a way to make that happen.

“As a group with common purpose, we worked together to produce the original proposal that got us back playing.

Dumbarton 1-0 Clyde (Andy Scott)

Dumbarton 1-0 Clyde (Andy Scott)

“It’s disappointing the time it has taken to act on it, but we have been greatly encouraged by the support and solidarity from other clubs and their supporters at the perceived unfairness of the situation we find ourselves through no fault of our own.

“We are now calling on the SPFL to do everything in their power to work with us to overcome the perceived obstacles of a 22-game season, which all have solutions, and hope they will respond accordingly.

“We must achieve a workable solution for clubs, players and fans by having a season of an appropriate length, even if that means the SPFL making some concessions to accommodate that in what has been another challenging season for clubs.”