Crowd restrictions at outdoor sporting events in Scotland will be lifted from Monday

Restrictions on crowds at outdoor sporting events in Scotland will be lifted on January 17, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

The news means football and rugby fans can return to stadiums from next Monday after being effectively closed since Boxing Day after a limit of 500 was imposed three weeks ago in the goal to cope with an increase in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

In a decision prompted by the Government’s ‘cautious optimism’ about how things have developed since the measures were put in place, Sturgeon gave the green light to football clubs to open their grounds to full capacity when the cinch Premiership campaign resumes next week after a three-week winter break.

In addition, Murrayfield will be able to sell out when the Scottish rugby team host England and France in the Six Nations.

Speaking in his statement to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday afternoon, Sturgeon said: “I can confirm today that the attendance limit of 500 people at large-scale outdoor events will be lifted from Monday 17 January.

“This means, for example, that spectators will once again be allowed at major outdoor sporting events, including football matches scheduled for early next week and upcoming Six Nations rugby matches.”

It has also been confirmed that Covid certification will now only be valid with a reminder and that clubs are required to verify the status of at least 50% of participants.

Football clubs will be allowed to open their grounds to full capacity when the Premiership campaign resumes (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA wire)

Sturgeon said: “The Covid certification system will remain in place for these (Premiership and Six Nations matches) and other previously covered events and venues, but with two significant changes.

“First, our guidelines will now state that organizers of large events of 1,000 people or more must verify the certification status of at least 50% of attendees, rather than the current 20%, or at least 1,000 people, regardless of figure higher.

“And secondly, from Monday, the requirement to be fully vaccinated for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose is more than four months old.

“It will still be possible to be admitted to events and places covered by the certification system by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test.”

Football is not the same without fans, and I know how much it will mean for them to be back in the stadiums to watch the matches again.

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster welcomed the lifting of restrictions, saying: “Today’s announcement is a sensible move which will be welcomed by clubs and hundreds of thousands of fans at home. across the country.

“Football is not the same without fans, and I know how much it will mean for them to be back in the stadiums to watch the games again.

“This news will also be a real financial boost for our 42 member clubs, who have faced an incredibly difficult set of circumstances since the start of the pandemic.”

Sturgeon also revealed that she hopes to greenlight indoor sporting events with spectators to resume from January 24.

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