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Fans’ return to stadiums delayed but test events will go ahead

The First Minister has announced a 'pause' on the phased return of supporters.

Fans’ return to stadiums delayed but test events will go ahead SNS Group

The planned return of fans to sports stadiums has been delayed for a minimum of three weeks as the government announced measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Professional sports clubs had been hopeful that the gradual reintroduction of paying supporters would begin on September 14 and had been working towards that date.

However, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday that Scotland will remain in phase three of its route map out of the coronavirus lockdown “for some time yet” amid rising cases.

That means it will be at least October 5 before professional football and rugby clubs can welcome fans back to watch live sport.

“In my previous statement I set out several changes which were provisionally scheduled for 14 September,” the FM said.

“Unfortunately due to a rise in the cases we have seen since then have concluded these changes must be paused for an additional three weeks.

“A new indicative date for their resumption is October 5, however I must stress again that this remains an indicative date only.

“This means unfortunately spectators won’t be able to return to sports stadiums in the next three weeks.

“There are two pilot events planned for this weekend which will proceed – however after that we will view possible pilot events on case by case basis and in light of latest data.

“We will remain in Phase 3 for now and that is likely to remain the same for some time yet.”

One test event has already been held at Murrayfield where a small number of fans were allowed to watch Edinburgh v Glasgow.

The two test events at Premiership football matches will go ahead at Pittodrie, where Aberdeen face Kilmarnock, and in Dingwall when Ross County play Celtic.