Football chiefs demand urgent talks over fans’ return

Supporters can return to English stadiums from next month, sparking calls for Scotland to follow suit.

Football chiefs demand urgent talks over fans’ return SNS Group

Scottish football chiefs are demanding urgent talks with the Scottish Government after it was announced that turnstiles will reopen in England next month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Monday that English clubs will be allowed to welcome back up to 4000 supporters if they are based in areas with lower coronavirus infection rates.

Scottish clubs remain in a state of limbo after much of the country saw Covid-19 restrictions tightened last week.

Only clubs in level-one areas, such as Highlands-based Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County, of Scotland’s alert system can have a maximum of 300 supporters in stadiums.

The Scottish Football Association has already warned MSPs that the pandemic could eventually cost the game in Scotland up to £100m by the time fans are allowed to return.

Now the SFA and Scottish Professional Football League’s joint response group has urged Sturgeon to lay out her plans for ushering supporters back to their seats.

“The news that clubs in England can prepare for the return of supporters is clearly extremely positive, and we will be seeking further urgent talks with the Scottish Government to establish a roadmap to getting fans safely back into Scottish grounds as soon as possible,” said a JRG spokesman.

“Many of our clubs are in extremely precarious positions, given the enormous reliance on gate income in the Scottish game.

“Getting Scottish fans back in to watch their beloved local clubs in the open air, in a controlled and carefully-regulated way, is absolutely essential for the future of Scottish clubs.”