NON-LEAGUE football clubs in West Fife have admitted to having concerns over when fans will be allowed back to matches.

Last Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced further restrictions to combat a rise in COVID-19 cases across the country, and an indicative date of October 5 for a phased return of spectators in stadiums has been postponed.

Originally, September 14 had been earmarked for a possible return of fans, but it now means that Scotland's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final – against Israel on October 8 at Hampden – will be played behind closed doors.

The Lowland League, featuring Kelty Hearts; the East of Scotland Premier Division, in which Crossgates Primrose and Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts will compete; and Conference A and Conference B of the First Division, which includes Rosyth and Oakley United respectively, are due to kick off on October 10 and will also start with no fans in grounds.

Representatives of some clubs, however, have warned that a prolonged period with no revenue through the gate could have a big impact on teams across the football pyramid.

Kevan McArthur, secretary of Crossgates, said: "We've got a couple of games over the next week, and we're due to start on the 10th, but who knows what's going to happen?

"We've got to be positive and hope that it (the league) starts but they've already said to us that if it does start, it's going to be behind closed doors. We've been surveyed on it to see what the general consensus is; we couldn't go the whole the season with no supporters. Not just our club, but many clubs wouldn't survive that because we do, like everybody, rely heavily on the admission money coming in through the gates and our sponsors and stuff.

"It's so much up in the air at the moment.

"I did think at the start that, with all the uncertainty at the time, that they may just mothball this season. If they said to us look, we're going to mothball the season, you could discuss it with players, have them on longer contracts and that sort of stuff.

"To turn around now and say we just can't get started at the moment, Alan would then have that job to have to speak to all the players and say, 'Are you going to hang around when we come back?'

"We've got to think positive that it won't be as bad as we all fear."

Oakley United committee member Craig Cowan commented: "I think we're definitely going to struggle.

"I don't get at our our level why we can't have fans in. We've got a ground capacity of 2,000 – that's the official council ground capacity – but we're not getting 2,000. We're lucky if we get 60-80.

"Our ground's way big enough to socially-distance 80 fans. We do have the facilities and the park's completely set up for COVID; we've got hand-sanitisers everywhere, we've got the signs everywhere to keep the distance, we've got the barriers up and things like that, and then they tell us we can't get anybody in.

"I really don't know what the outcome's going to be."

Rosyth manager Brian Muirhead added: "If there's no fans, there's no income, and if there's no income, how do you pay boys?

"If they close sports down, the season can't start. It sets everybody right back to the beginning again. I can't see how we can stop for another two weeks and look to pick up the season again; it's just not feasible.

"It's not sustainable and not financially manageable."