Celtic’s fan return bid rejected by Scottish Government

The Scottish champions were keen to use their match against Motherwell as a test event for fans returning to stadiums.

Celtic’s fan return bid rejected by Scottish Government

Celtic’s bid to use their match against Motherwell as a test event for fans returning to football stadiums has been rejected by the Scottish Government.

The Premiership champions were keen to welcome back up to 1000 supporters for their home league fixture this weekend against the Steelmen.

But after talks between the club and government, the plan has been rebuffed.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes during these past months to create the protocols and testing regimes to allow top-level professional sport in Scotland to resume, without putting the public or others at unnecessary risk.

“We recognise there is disappointment that the proposal for a pilot on 30 August has not been approved but we are looking for suitable alternative dates for football pilots.

“We need to allow sufficient time for any test events to be informed by learning from other events – in particular the rugby match at Murrayfield on 28 August.”

A spokesman for Scottish football’s Joint Response Group said: ““We note the decision and are seeking urgent clarification from the Scottish Government.

“We can only assume that the Scottish Government regard a single pilot event as appropriate for both rugby and football, ahead of the return of fans from 14 September, and look forward to that clarification as soon as possible.”

Ross County has also proposed its Global Energy Stadium in Dingwall be used as a test venue.

The club said in a statement: “There is no doubt that given our clubs ability to react to the pandemic in the beginning – and diligent and extensive work carried out by our operational team – that we feel we have a group of staff with the capability to deliver a return for fans to our stadium in a safe and secure environment.”

The Scottish Government has already granted permission for fans to watch Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors in rugby’s Pro14 tournament at Murrayfield on Friday.

Around 700 of supporters drawn from the area local to Murrayfield will be in attendance for the Pro 14 fixture.

Dominic McKay, chief of operations at Scottish Rugby, said: “We have worked really closely with Celtic – they have a great plan.

“All the lessons we learn from Friday we will be sharing with Celtic, the SFA and the SPFL.

“It’s important for us all that we get sport re-started and it’s vital that we get spectators back in to grounds for all sorts of obvious reasons.

“Collaboration between rugby and football has been really strong over the past number of months and I am sure that will continue.”

September 14 has been identified as the date for fans to return to sports stadia across the country in restricted numbers.

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