SPFL to SCRAP matchday Covid protocols following successful rollout of vaccination programme

Scottish football set to return to normal as SPFL relax rules on away fans and social distancing following successful rollout of vaccination programme

  • Scottish football is set to return to normal after scrapping of matchday red zones
  • Clubs will be permitted to relax rules on away fans and other Covid protocols
  • They can demand two-metre red zones and social distancing should they choose

Scottish football is set to return to normal with the scrapping of mandatory matchday red zones by the game’s Joint Response Group.

With the country’s vaccination programme now at an advanced stage, clubs will be permitted to relax rules on away fans, hospitality areas, training grounds and travel based on their own risk assessments.

Despite the lowering of government restrictions Scottish clubs were ordered to maintain social distancing protocols to avoid widespread outbreaks at clubs causing fixture chaos.

While clubs will continue to test players on a regular basis, the move is likely to see the return of away fans to Parkhead and Ibrox after Celtic and Rangers after red zones as a reason to rehouse home fans to areas traditionally occupied by away supporters.

Facing a lockout of fans for their trip Ibrox after the international break Hearts last week lodged a formal complaint with the SPFL after arguing the lockout breached league rules. 

Scottish football will return to normal with away fans set to return to grounds after SPFL ruling

In a statement marking a return to normality after 18 months of disruption the Joint Response Group have confirmed changes to the Return to Play Protocols saying: ‘On August 9 this year, the legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings were removed as the country entered Level 0, resulting in clubs being able to play in front of more fans and, subject to local authority approval, at full capacity.

‘With the country’s vaccination programme now at an advanced stage, and citizens now familiar with the day-to-day baseline mitigation measures that remain in place (such as the mandatory use of face coverings in indoor public places and on public transport), the Joint Response Group believes it is now appropriate for clubs to make their own business decisions based on their own risk assessments.

‘This is in part due to the success of the national vaccination programme, but also in recognition of the expertise and experience of clubs in complying with the government’s existing guidance.

‘One key area for clubs to consider, based on their own risk assessment, is the continued adherence to protocols requiring physical distancing in all training and matchday settings – including but not limited to changing rooms, travel, overnight stays, and technical areas – as well as matchday Red Zones.

Clubs will be permitted to relax rules on away fans, hospitality areas and training grounds

Clubs will be permitted to relax rules on away fans, hospitality areas and training grounds 

‘The reason such protocols have remained in place is to mitigate instances where a positive test is returned and close-contact identification is carried out by the government-appointed Elite Sports Clinical Advisory Group.

‘Given that anyone within two metres is considered by Scottish Government as a close contact, the requirement for Red Zones has continued within Scottish football and JRG protocols as a mitigation measure, not least to avoid widespread close contacts jeopardising clubs’ ability to fulfil fixtures.

‘Now that vaccination rates have increased considerably in the age cohort of professional footballers, with mandatory distancing removed from indoor and outdoor events by Scottish Government, and with many clubs keen to remove Red Zones to facilitate the attendance of more home and away supporters, the JRG considers the subject of physical distancing to be an area for clubs to determine through their own risk assessment.

‘The requirement to have a Red Zone will no longer be mandatory but the JRG protocols are still available to use, should clubs wish to continue to implement them.’

Clubs will still be entitled to demand two metre red zones and social distancing should they choose.

With clubs forced to turn over revenue earning hospitality areas to away teams, limit shower facilities and and hire multiple buses to transport players to games, however, that seems unlikely despite the JRG adding: ‘Should any club wish to continue with 2m physical distancing measures on match days, this must be accommodated by the home clubs as per the existing protocols. Clubs are asked to discuss and agree match day arrangements as far in advance of the fixture as possible.

Clubs can still demand two-metre red zones and social distancing should they choose

Clubs can still demand two-metre red zones and social distancing should they choose

‘Clubs who are currently testing should continue to do so and highlight any positive cases as normal.

‘Clubs should also be aware that in the event of any outbreaks or spikes in positive cases, the JRG reserves the right to reintroduce physical distancing requirements.

‘These changes can be implemented immediately, however clubs should discuss arrangements with upcoming opponents as soon as possible to agree requirements.

‘The JRG will remain on-hand for any help and advice and trusts clubs to continue to take a responsible approach to adhering to football protocols and Scottish Government guidelines, especially in any relaxation of physical distancing.’

Source link

Share

What do you think?

Comments

Leave a Reply

Raphael Varane insists he’s ‘very happy’ with the start he’s made at Manchester United

How Sadie Robertson Learned to Embrace Parenting’s “Terrifying” Parts