Government approves August start for Premiership football

The Scottish Government has approved the plan for the top flight to play behind closed doors.

Government approves August start for Premiership football SNS

The Scottish Government has given the green light for the Scottish Premiership to begin on August 1.

Friendly matches will also be allowed with immediate effect, though fans are not yet allowed inside stadia.

Plans had been drawn up by the football authorities for a restart behind closed doors but clubs were waiting for minisiters to have the final say. Permission has now been granted, subject to health and safety measures being in place and weekly testing continuing.

Premiership clubs are already in full training and some will play bounce games this weekend. The Championship and Leagues 1 and 2 will return in October.

Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick said: “The Scottish Government appreciates the importance of football to many people in Scotland, and I share the enthusiasm of many in seeing our national game returning at elite level, albeit behind closed doors.

“That’s only possible thanks to the national effort to continue to suppress this devastating virus, not to mention the work of the Scottish Government, public health authorities, and football governing bodies to come up with a viable and safe solution for football to return.

“Given the nature of the virus there is not an imminent prospect of fans being allowed back into stadiums, but we will continue to review this situation in the coming months. I am sure everyone will appreciate that this will only be able to happen when it is safe to do so. In the meantime I welcome the progress that football clubs can get back on the pitch, behind closed doors.”

Mike Mulraney, Interim Scottish FA President: “Scottish football, and the millions of fans for whom the national game is a fabric of their daily lives, are now starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.

“We welcome the Scottish Government’s approval of the August 1 start date for the Scottish Premiership and the ability for Premiership clubs to prepare for that kick-off immediately.

“The First Minister’s updated guidance also gives great encouragement for boys and girls across the country that grassroots football for under-18s will soon return.

“The JRG has been in daily liaison with government advisers to get us to this point. I would urge everyone to continue to adhere to the public health messages to ensure no complacency as the return to football becomes tantalisingly close.

“We will continue to plan for the return of the game at all levels and communicate milestones at the appropriate time. I would like to pay tribute to the work of the JRG, its sub groups and everyone involved in the game for the efforts that have gotten us to this point.”

Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive: “Today’s approvals are a significant step forward for Scottish Premiership clubs and provide the necessary clarity to prepare for the new season. The ability for clubs to arrange and participate in friendly matches is important on and off the field as momentum builds towards what will be a welcome and exciting return to Scottish football starting August 1.”

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