Premiership season could start in August after Scottish government talks – BBC Sport

Watch: When might different sports return?

National clinical director Jason Leitch has warned the Scottish Premiership’s return on 1 August is not set in stone.

The Scottish FA will lift football’s suspension on 11 June, allowing clubs to resume training, following a meeting with sports minister Joe Fitzpatrick.

The top flight is due to start behind closed doors – if Scotland is in phase two of Covid-19 lockdown easing.

“I’m not sure people should write August on their calendars just yet,” professor Leitch told BBC Scotland.

“So there’s a long way to go before August 1. With a fair wind and the virus behaving itself and of course the population behaving itself [the deadline can be met].

“There is reward for keeping a distance of two metres and not mixing your families because if you don’t we’ll go backwards.

“So I think you could put in a shaded pencil the first of August. But don’t get overexcited. That’s what we told the sporting bodies yesterday but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for that.”

Playing non-contact outdoor sports was allowed to return in Scotland on Friday. The situation is assessed at least every three weeks – the next review is scheduled for 18 June – with further phases implemented if enough progress is made on keeping the virus under control.

Professional sport is in phase two; a “restricted number” of spectators are allowed in stage three – potentially mid-July; with crowd restrictions eased further in stage four.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “While acknowledging that the current testing regime required to be observed will be prohibitive for most clubs out with the Premiership at this time, we are aware that there are hundreds of thousands of players across the Scottish football landscape looking for clarity on when they can return to action.

“In particular, the paused Scottish Women’s Premier League is keen to restart and we will be discussing with stakeholders the process to restart the women’s senor game in line with the government’s route map out of lockdown.”

Fitzpatrick says elite Scottish rugby can also resume in August, if the country has reached phase two in the route map.

‘Closed doors probably reasonable’ – analysis

Sports & exercise medical consultant Dr Andrew Murray

I don’t imagine we’ll see full stadiums as of August, but what you might see is closed-doors games with crowds introduced when the risk assessments indicate that it’s safe to do so.

It is probably reasonable to get back towards behind closed-doors sport in the not too distant future and, beyond then, if you can put enhanced standards of hygiene in and socially distance people appropriately, that may well be supportable.

Scottish football and rugby have responsible organisations. They’ll not just rush back from a financial perspective.

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