At the risk of injecting politics into sport it’s time for the Scottish Government to opt for a stronger populist approach in allowing fans back to sporting events in the country.
We can accept the public health considerations. We can even accept why there is a need for restrictions.
But here we are, into a third week of attendance being capped at 500 for any outdoor sporting event and we remain none the wiser for the reasons where that figure came from.
If you are a regular viewer of Highland League Weekly on the Press and Journal website – and if you are not then you are missing a trick – you will see a 500 limit on fans has not had any real impact on clubs in the most entertaining league in the country.
But it’s one thing to let just 500 into Bellslea Park in Fraserburgh – and then insist on the same limit being placed in an all-seater stadium such as Pittodrie or Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership.
That’s the fundamental issue which continues to leave Scottish football fans scratching their heads in disbelief.
Why is attendance limited to 500?
When social distancing can easily be implemented when there are thousands of seats available, it is ridiculous to leave them all sitting empty.
The public has been told repeatedly by the decision makers they will be guided by science when it comes to shaping policy.
I for one fully support that idea. I did not like it, but I knew the reasons why football was by and large played behind closed doors in Scotland last season.
We were in the height of a global pandemic, the vaccine rollout did not begin until early December 2020 and until a significant number of the population had received their dose it was clear why there was a need to exercise caution.
But the current sporting restrictions seem unreasonable and not needed at this time.
Cases are high again, but thankfully instances of serious illness are significantly lower due to the variant and the vaccine doing its job.
Which is why I fail to see why we are limiting the number of fans who can go to events.
The 500 figure seems to have been plucked out of thin air with no explanation or rationale behind it and it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue against the belief many have that football fans are the ones being unduly penalised again.
The fact our neighbours in England have just packed out Alexandra Palace to watch the world darts championship and are also packing out their local football grounds only adds to the frustration among followers of Scottish sport.
Fans’ fate in the hands of Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is hopeful rugby fans will be able to watch Six Nations matches at Murrayfield in February.
That’s great, but what about next week?
The Premiership returns with Celtic set to face Hibs, while Aberdeen are due to welcome champions Rangers to Pittodrie.
So far all we’ve had is some vague hope the current restrictions will not continue past January 17.
If a decision cannot be made now or at the very least a proper explanation of why only 500 can attend, then we would be as well packing up every ball and going home now.
Sport without fans is nothing.