The Scottish Government has ruled out the use of “health passports” to enable the Tartan Army to attend Scotland’s home matches at the Euro finals.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop reported that it was still “too early” to say whether fans would be allowed to go to the historic games at Hampden in June, but suggested that attendance would not be based on any form of documentation showing whether a spectator had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The SNP minister added that a “range of planning scenarios” were being considered for the tournament matches, including the possibility of having spectators in the stadium.
The highly-anticipated home games against Czech Republic and Croatia were scheduled after Scotland’s men’s team qualified in November for its first major football tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France.
Hampden had already been chosen to host four matches at Euro 2020, which was postponed for a year until June and July of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Labour MSP Neil Bibby used parliamentary questions to quiz SNP ministers on arrangements for the tournament, and the prospect of fans being allowed in.
It is currently too early to say what will be permitted in terms of spectator attendance.”
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop
Ms Hyslop responded by saying: “The Scottish Government is working closely with our event partners, the Scottish FA, Glasgow City Council, Police Scotland and EventScotland, on preparation for the Uefa Euro 2020 matches at Hampden in June and July 2021.
“In response to the Covid situation we are considering a range of planning scenarios for the tournament, including spectator attendance at the stadium.
“It is currently too early to say what will be permitted in terms of spectator attendance; however, the Scottish Government is doing all we can to ensure fans can safely attend sporting events going forward, including Euro 2020.”
Mr Bibby also asked whether the government had considered using “health passports”, which have been suggested as a way to prove whether a person has been vaccinated or has recently tested negative, in order to allow spectators to safely attend Hampden.
Ms Hyslop played down the idea, however, saying: “Regarding health or immunity passports, there are not something that the Scottish Government is contemplating at this stage (sic).
“In addition to ethical considerations, there are practical issues with any such approach – we do not yet know the extent to which vaccination prevents transmission of Covid and we cannot be sure that, just because someone has been vaccinated, they cannot pass Covid on to somebody else.”
‘Public safety has to come first’
Hampden is due to host the Scotland v Czech Republic game on June 14, followed by the Croatia v Czech Republic match on June 18, then Scotland’s clash with Croatia on June 22, and a round of 16 tie on June 29.
Steve Clarke’s men will also travel to London’s Wembley Stadium to face England on June 18 next year.
After receiving the minister’s answers, Mr Bibby said: “In all of this, public safety has to be paramount.
“I love football as much as anyone, but obviously public safety has to come first.
“It’s still obviously six months away, so when they say it is ‘too early to say’, I understand that position.
“Public safety has to be paramount but, with that in mind, I hope and anticipate that everything that can be done, will be done, to ensure that the fans can be back in the stadiums for Euro 2020.”
Mr Bibby added that the government should “keep under consideration any developments that would allow fans to safely attend football matches”.