Grounds for hope: Football clubs help vaccination push

The football authorities have worked alongside the Scottish Government to provide pop-up vaccination centres at clubs.

Grounds for hope: Football clubs help vaccination push PA Ready

Scottish football clubs are to help the vaccination push by opening up their grounds to the effort.

The football authorities have worked alongside the Scottish Government to provide pop-up vaccination centres at clubs across the country, in a bid to encourage under-30s in particular to get protection against Covid-19.

The pop-up centres will be housed in the stadium or car park.

Scottish Football Association (SFA) chief executive Ian Maxwell stated the intention was to “put the national game at the heart of the roll-out” by using players as role models to the younger population.

He added: “With the new season soon to get under way, the pop-up vaccine centres also enable clubs to align the vaccination of their players efficiently, which in turn will help provide a greater degree of confidence and certainty ahead of the new season.

“We would encourage clubs to take up this opportunity and urge everyone – especially those now eligible between 18 and 29 – to get vaccinated to make sure we can get back together, in football stadia and in everyday life.”

Health secretary Humza Yousaf added: “We’re now offering vaccinations to all over-18s and we’re making it as easy as possible.

“The pop-up vaccination centres available to football clubs via their local health boards will help us reach the younger groups we are currently vaccinating – but of course, any adult who hasn’t had their first or second dose will be welcome.

“Players and staff from Scottish football clubs will, of course, also be able to get vaccinated – many of their players fall into the age bracket of those now being offered the vaccination.”

The scheme was announced ahead of the first weekend of the Scottish season, which has already been disrupted by the pandemic.

Ross County were forced to cancel their Premier Sports Cup tie at Forfar, being consigned to a 3-0 defeat after a number of their players and staff tested positive.

St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin is braced for further disruption.

“As long as we are testing, the numbers will continue to show up,” Goodwin said.

“We test three times a week with the lateral flow and there are some inaccuracies involved with the lateral flow. I think there’s a 75% success rate so there are going to be false positives.

“The problem with that is if you get them on the morning of the game you can’t get the results of a PCR test back in time for kick-off.

“That’s the predicament that every club in the league is going to find themselves in.

“It might be even a little bit more difficult this year to control things because last year the players and staff weren’t able to go to pubs and restaurants and there wasn’t any real socialising, whereas this year everything is pretty much back up and running, albeit with restrictions in place.

“We can only ask the lads to be sensible, to make sure they are managing the hygiene side and wearing masks, and try not to find themselves in too many over-populated areas.

“Hopefully that gives us a good chance of keeping the virus away from our club.”