Livingston chief executive John Ward has explained why the club voted in favour of the SPFL resolution to terminate the league with teams finishing in their current position.

The Lions were the first club to come out in favour of the plan on Thursday (March 9) when they released a statement explaining the reasons behind their decision.

They cited a letter from Scottish Ministers to the SPFL with guidance suggesting that the current restrictions would not be lifted until June 10.

Livi went onto say that their understanding is the resumption would likely be much later than this and therefore “there is no viable space to finish the current season.”

The statement said that it is fundamental to the club that they receive the prize money and if the league were to be voided, as some have suggested, then this would be impossible. They also added that to fulfil the new contracts with Sky Sports and Premier Sports then the 2020/21 season must start on the dates contractually agreed.

Livi’s chief executive, John Ward, says that the club is a winning position no matter whether the season resumes or not.

The Lions sit in fifth place in the league table at the moment and Ward told the Courier that whilst the club would benefit from matchday revenues they also stand to collect more prize money than they anticipated at the start of the season if they league is declared to be over.

He said: “Both scenarios suit us. It would be nice to finish the season but there is a huge chunk of revenue that would potentially come our way if we remain where we are.

“If we resume then we would have home games against some fairly big travelling supports so we reckon that could be worth up to £500,000 but equally if we finish fifth that would generate a lot of money too.

"So, I guess if I were a card player I would take what our hand is just now and finish fifth and get more money than we had budgeted for.

“But, if I had a magic wand I would take finishing fifth and also get to play these games as well!”

The governing bodies have come in for fierce criticism in some quarters but Ward believes this is unfair and points out that it is a public health matter that puts football in the shadow.

He has been in constant dialogue with the SFA and SPFL and says they are doing their best, and that UEFA is in a tough position because the coronavirus is affecting each member country in different ways.

Ward continued: “We understand why there is no clarity, it is just a symptom of where we are right now that nobody really knows for sure. I am participating in a weekly call with all the other CEOs from the other clubs and the SFA and SPFL, like Neil Doncaster, Rod Petrie and all the other guys.

“They are in the same position as we are and nobody can firmly tell anyone anything. There has been some noise from UEFA about not finishing the competitions but with the extent of just how devastating this situation is football kind of pales into insignificance so these guys have no more control over what happens than we do, even UEFA. Every country in Europe has a different timeline so we just have to be patient.

“If UEFA decide that is going to continue into September or whatever then the players contracts would have to be carried on. There has been much discussion about that, with legal opinion taken, and to be fair to the SFA and SPFL they have consulted with QCs to try and ascertain just what clauses we would have to adhere to but until there is a decision nobody is really going to know.”

Ward says nobody at the club has tested positive for the virus as of yet. However, he told the Courier that a couple of players had been ill, with breathing difficulties in February, but due to the lack of testing they don't know whether it was Covid-19 or not.

He took the time to thank the supporters for backing the club’s Operating Fund that was launched to try and ease the lack of funds coming into the club at the moment.

Fans were asked to set up a monthly standing order and in return receive either shares in the club, hospitality at a game or match ball sponsorship.

He added: “We were absolutely blown away by just how positive it was and how they stepped up and got behind the club. It was one of these things that we didn’t have a specific target. We just looked at the figures over the next few months and knew we would struggle with no income coming in so we wanted to try something to get some input from the fans.

“We didn’t want them to just chuck money at us so we thought why don’t we do something that in better times we could pay them back? The fans bought into the spirit of it and the response has been very positive indeed.”