No changes are planned for the number of fans allowed in Scottish stadiums in light of changes in England, sports minister Joe FitzPatrick has said.
In the lowest two tiers of England’s Covid-19 alert system, supporters will return to stadiums, with 4,000 or 50% of capacity – whichever is lowest – in Tier 1 and 2,000 or 50% in Tier 2.
In Scotland, 300 supporters can attend stadiums in areas in Level 0 or Level 1.
A letter from Mr FitzPatrick to Health and Sport Committee convener Lewis Macdonald, published on Thursday, shows no imminent easing of these restrictions in Scotland.
Mr FitzPatrick said: “Given that the situation with the virus remains fragile – with many cases and continuing pressure on the NHS – we are taking a cautious approach, based on a maximum of 300 spectators initially.”
He added: “In terms of football, rugby etc, a maximum of 300 supporters are allowed in areas with Level 0 and Level 1 restrictions.
“We are considering how and when this figure may increase – but it is important to emphasise there is no immediate prospect of an increase given the fragile situation with the virus.”
Mr FitzPatrick added there are “no plans” to allow for any fans to attend stadiums in higher levels.
“We recognise the pivotal role community clubs play within local communities, not just in delivering sport and physical activity,” he said.
“We welcomed the announcement of the £300m UK Government support scheme for sports impacted by the loss of spectators during the pandemic and we are seeking urgent clarification on the Barnett consequential funding as a result in order to support the sector in Scotland.
“While many sporting organisations have been able to access wider support packages as noted above, the Scottish Government will continue to work with the sector to ensure their long-term sustainability and survival.”
Neil Doncaster, the chief executive of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), has said the 42 professional clubs in Scotland could face a “death knell” if supporters continue to be kept away from grounds.
On Wednesday, he called for an emergency meeting with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Mr Doncaster said: “Every major club in Scotland has very detailed, well-founded plans in place for safely returning fans back to stadiums, and thousands upon thousands of Scottish fans are simply desperate to get back quickly to watching their teams in the safety of a carefully managed, open-air environment.”