Two Scottish Premiership football matches will be held with a limited number of fans this Saturday following discussions between government officials and the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).
Aberdeen vs Kilmarnock and Ross County vs Celtic will go ahead with a maximum of 300 home supporters.
Both Aberdeen and Ross County will provide a post-match report on operational delivery to inform guidance for future pilots and the general resumption of fans. The clubs have also undertaken measures to ensure fans attending will be local to their areas to keep travel to a minimum.
Saturday’s matches at St Mirren and Rangers had been proposed as further pilot events but they will now go ahead without fans following the extension of COVID-19 restrictions in the west of Scotland.
Scotland’s Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “No final decision has yet been taken regarding the general resumption of stadia events with restricted numbers of spectators and nothing should be taken for granted at this stage. However, the Scottish Government has agreed that the Scottish Professional Football League can hold two pilot events, each with 300 home supporters only, on 12 September.
“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes in recent months to create the protocols and testing regimes to allow top-level professional sport in Scotland to resume, and this arrangement follows extensive discussions with the Scottish FA, SPFL and clubs about public safety – particularly in relation to physical distancing and hygiene measures.
“The football authorities and the clubs involved have also been able to review and learn from the pilot event staged by Scottish Rugby on 28 August and we are confident there will be strict protocols in place at these two initial pilot football events.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added: “We look forward to building on the successful supporter rugby pilot at BT Murrayfield and I know that clubs take the responsibility for the safe return of supporters seriously. This is another significant step forward for Scottish football and I reiterate the importance of fans to our national game.
“The JRG (Joint Response Group) will continue to liaise with all clubs, especially the home clubs, in the coming week to ensure all protocols and guidance are adhered to and that fans can look forward to a phased return to supporting their respective teams.”
Image: Aberdeen FC