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Scottish clubs urged to ‘check insurance’ for closed-door games

The SFA and SPFL say no restrictions are needed yet but clubs should prepare.

Scottish football clubs have been advised to check their insurance policies in case the coronavirus outbreak forces matches to be played behind closed doors or cancelled.

While the Scottish Football Association and Scottish Professional Football League say there is “no rationale” for barring supporters from games as things stand, they say the situation is changeable and clubs should be preparing for the worst.

Twenty-three people have been diagnosed with the disease in Scotland so far, though that figure is expected to rise.

In a joint statement, SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell and his league counterpart, Neil Doncaster, said: “The SPFL and Scottish FA are continuing to work together in the face of the coronavirus threat.”

“The Joint Response Group, including the Scottish FA’s chief medical consultant Dr John MacLean, is meeting on a daily basis to consider briefings from the World Health Organisation and to respond to the developing situation across the UK.

“We are aware of the decisions being taken elsewhere in Europe to cancel sporting events and/or hold them behind closed doors.

“However, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport announced yesterday that, as things stand, there is ‘no rationale’ for closing or cancelling sporting events in Britain because of coronavirus. This has been echoed in conversations that we have had with the Scottish Government.

“While it is a fast-changing picture and we will continue to be guided by the most up-to-date, expert advice, we are continuing to prepare for matches to proceed as scheduled.

“Member clubs are urged to review the terms of any business interruption insurance they may hold, in the event that future matches may be cancelled or have to be held behind closed doors.”

Meanwhile, Scotland’s clubs have been encouraged to get hygiene advice across to supporters to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“It is vital that we all take whatever measures we can to ensure good hygiene in our premises,” the statement added.

“Regular, thorough hand-washing is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of coronavirus and we are urging all clubs to use the channels available to them to push this vital message to fans, staff and players alike.

“If any member club would like advice on measures that can be taken in relation to their first-team squad, to further reduce the likelihood of players contracting the virus, they should contact Dr John MacLean, the Scottish FA’s chief medical consultant.

“We will continue to update you as the situation develops.”