Scotland’s stadiums could reopen for restricted numbers of fans from 14 September – BBC News

Hibs fans at Livingston
Some fans have found ways to continue to watch their team in action, despite matches being played behind closed doors

Sports stadiums in Scotland could reopen to fans on 14 September, with restricted numbers in attendance.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the indicative date in parliament, along with plans for theatres and live music venues.

She stressed that it would be for a “limited number of spectators and with strict physical distancing in place”.

Sturgeon also spoke of the possibility of test events taking place before any reopening.

The Scottish Premiership season started on 1 August behind closed doors. Clubs in the Championship and Leagues One and Two begin their 2020-21 season with Betfred Cup matches on 6 October, while the league campaigns kick off on 17 October.

The Scottish FA had hoped to have some supporters at Scotland’s Nations League match against Israel on 4 September but European governing body Uefa has ruled out a return for fans at its competitions any time during that month.

Scottish Rugby is hoping the Pro14 match between Edinburgh and Glasgow at Murrayfield on 28 August will be used as a test event.

BBC Scotland understands a proposal that would see 700 fans in attendance could be signed off in the next couple of days.

Government officials had been working on a plan to partially open Musselburgh Racecourse to the public for a meeting on 26 August, but that has now been ruled out.

Announcing plans to reopen gyms, swimming pools and indoor sports courts from 31 August, Sturgeon said: “Given the volatility of the virus, there is the very real possibility that some, or all, of these plans could change.

“With that significant caveat, we hope that sports stadiums will be able to reopen from 14 September – but only for a limited number of spectators and with strict physical distancing in place.

“Some professional sports events might be arranged for spectators before then, with Scottish government agreement to test the safety of any new arrangements.”

The first minister also hopes that indoor contact sports can resume for people aged 12 and over from 14 September.

‘It’s really promising’ – reaction

Scottish football figures have welcomed the announcement that partial crowds could be allowed back into stadiums from 14 September.

Celtic winger James Forrest: “It’s really promising. When we played a couple of pre-season games in France with just a couple of thousand fans it makes a difference, so it will be beneficial for the players to get that bit of atmosphere.”

St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin: “We want to get our passionate supporters back in as soon as possible. It’s not the same without them. They are a huge part of the game.”

Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist: “It is going to be good for Scottish football and society if you look at the bigger picture. It will bring a bit more normality.”

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