Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has played down the chances of Scottish football fans returning to stadiums in October in a major blow to Rangers supporters.
The Ibrox side had previously harboured hopes of finding solutions as early as August but these latest comments suggest it could be November before fans are allowed back into matches.
Given the precarious financial situation many clubs face without crowds this could be a major blow to a range of SPFL clubs.
The First Minister’s comments come as a result of an interview with National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch and as the SPFL plan to launch their fixture list for the coming season on Monday [BBC Sport].
“Football with crowds has not been pencilled in for October,” said Sturgeon [Edinburgh Live].
“We haven’t taken that decision yet.
“Jason was simply trying to find a way of saying, ‘Don’t assume it will be October when we get crowds back’.
“So do not take from this that we have given football an October provisional date for crowds being back.
“That’s not the case and actually I don’t think it’s a fair interpretation of what Jason actually said.”
Professor Leitch explained that there was “pretty much no chance of crowds in August” in an interview with BBC Scotland.
Remaining optimistic Prof Leitch said the chances of crowds could change in August in September if we get “a fair wind” with the coronavirus.
“I can’t imagine physically-distanced crowds in August or September. I might be wrong and with a fair wind we might get there,” said Leitch [BBC Scotland].
“I think we might run some test events during that two-month period. It might be a big match but a small test event crowd.
“Then thinking about into the autumn and winter I would hope if things remain good then we might be able to get back to physically-distanced crowds.”
40,000 Rangers fans have renewed their season tickets despite no precise date on when they’ll get to use them as the phenomenal Rangers support goes the extra yard in these hard times.
The club has also had 20,000 fans sign up to its new MyGers membership scheme.