Pilot football matches

Two test events to be played in front of home fans.

Two pilot Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) matches are to take place in front of 300 home supporters following extensive discussions involving Ministers and the football authorities.

The games – Aberdeen v Kilmarnock and Ross County v Celtic – on Saturday 12 September, have been approved after each of the home teams submitted detailed operational plans for the safe admission of fans.

Both home clubs have undertaken to ensure supporters attending will be local to their areas to keep travel to a minimum.

Proposed pilot events involving Rangers and St Mirren will not go ahead following the extension of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in the west of Scotland.

Each of the home clubs will also provide a post-match report on operational delivery to inform guidance for future pilots.  No date has been confirmed for the general resumption of stadia events outlined in the Scottish Government Route Map out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“No final decision has yet been taken regarding the general resumption of stadia events with restricted numbers of spectators and nothing should be taken for granted at this stage. However, the Scottish Government has agreed that the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) can hold two pilot events, each with 300 home supporters only, on 12 September.

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes in recent months to create the protocols and testing regimes to allow top-level professional sport in Scotland to resume, and this arrangement follows extensive discussions with the Scottish FA, SPFL and clubs about public safety – particularly in relation to physical distancing and hygiene measures.

“The football authorities and the clubs involved have also been able to review and learn from the pilot event staged by Scottish Rugby on 28 August and we are confident there will be strict protocols in place at these two initial pilot football events.

“We are keeping all pilot events under close review.”

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said:

“The Joint Response Group (JRG) is pleased to have received confirmation of pilot events at two Scottish Premiership fixtures on 12 September and I would like to thank the respective home clubs – and indeed all 12 Premiership clubs – for the comprehensive Return to Supporting plans.

“We look forward to building on the successful supporter rugby pilot at BT Murrayfield and I know that clubs take the responsibility for the safe return of supporters seriously. This is another significant step forward for Scottish football and I reiterate the importance of fans to our national game.

“The JRG will continue to liaise with all clubs, especially the home clubs, in the coming week to ensure all protocols and guidance are adhered to and that fans can look forward to a phased return to supporting their respective teams.”


The First Minister will make a full statement on 10 September 2020 with a further update on COVID-19, including stadia events, as set out in the revised Scottish Government COVID-19 route map published on 20 August 2020.


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