Scottish Government bite back as members' body which represents Rangers makes fan demand
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Scot Gov bite back as SPFL makes fan demand after English club boost

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has knocked back an open letter from the SPFL which pleaded with the Scottish Government to meet with them to discuss the return of football fans.

The SPFL’s letter came after tensions rose following a similar decision taken in England which will see substantial numbers return to grounds in certain regions depending on where they fall within a tiered system.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has dashed SPFL hopes of more fans returning to stadiums in the near future. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

As of December 2nd, English regions in tier 1 and tier 2 being able to allow supporters back into stadiums with a max capacity of 4000 spectators or 50% of grounds in tier 1 [BBC Sport].


But with large gatherings falling under the remit of devolved powers, football clubs in Scotland are being impact by stronger measures as part of the Covid-19 lockout.

Given the much-deliberation over the financial implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on not just football clubs in Scotland but those across the world, the SPFL have pleaded with the Scottish Government.

The professional members’ body represents the 42 SPFL clubs and has asked for an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss the situation.

“We are now calling on the First Minister to do the right thing by Scotland’s hard-pressed football supporters. If it’s good enough for English fans, it must be good enough for Scottish fans,” reads part of the statement from the SPFL.

“If the First Minister refuses to allow football fans all over Scotland to watch their beloved teams in carefully-regulated, limited numbers, complete with track and trace, she will have to explain to them the clinical difference between Scottish fans and English fans.

“Make no mistake, failure to get fans back in the very near future will sound the death knell for some of our best-loved clubs and no-one wants that.

“We have written to the First Minister seeking an emergency meeting, because time is really against us. We will meet with her at any time, day or night, to fit in with her busy schedule and we await her response.”

SPFL chief exec Neil Doncaster is pushing for the return of fans for financial reasons for the member clubs. (Photo by Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

However, Sturgeon has now spoken about the situation directly and talked down a return of supporters.

“The idea that we are restricting anything right now for no good reason has no basis in reality,” said Sturgeon [Scotsman].

“We do have a situation where fans are allowed back into stadiums in level one areas and we have seen Ross County have fans back in their stadium and we will monitor that and continue to look at how we can safely increase numbers.

“However much Neil Doncaster, for reasons I understand, is only looking at football, we can’t see any sector or any part of society in isolation because there is only so much we can do overall if we are to keep the virus under control.

Rangers have been forced to play this entire season behind closed doors at Ibrox. (Photo by Robert Perry – Pool/Getty Images)

“But the emphasis has to be in everything we are talking about right now about how we strike the balance that keeps people as safe as possible.”

Rangers fans have been locked out of Ibrox ever since the club played Bayer Leverkusen in March – and whilst we all want to be back in the stadium – could a return to crowds signal a change in form for Steven Gerrard’s side?

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