Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that fans will not be able to return to sports stadiums until at least October 5.

It had initially been hoped that fans would be able to return on September 14 but this date has been pushed back amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier this week it was announced that two Scottish Premiership football matches at Aberdeen and Ross County would go ahead with a maximum of 300 home supporters and this will still be the case despite today’s (Thursday’s) announcement.

“I can confirm that it is the Scottish government’s judgement that we cannot at this stage risk the further transmission of COVID that reopening further facilities and services would entail,” Sturgeon said during her daily briefing today.

“The new indicative date for their resumption is Monday, October 5, however I must stress again that this remains an indicative date. A final decision can only be taken much nearer the time.

“Unfortunately spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks.”

On Saturday, both Aberdeen and Ross County will be required to 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.

Last month, around 700 spectators attended the Pro14 rugby union clash between Edinburgh and Glasgow at Murrayfield. It marked the first rugby match in the UK to welcome back spectators since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in March.

October is also set as a provisional date for fans to return to stadiums across England but this is set to be reviewed after it was announced yesterday that upcoming pilot events in the country would be capped at 1,000 fans.

Image: Brian Aitkenhead