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Coronavirus (COVID-19): stadium sector guidance for professional football and rugby

Guidance on professional football and professional rugby for the stadium sector, including an operational guide and checklist.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): stadium sector guidance for professional football and rugby


We need a strong professional sport sector to help drive Scotland's economic recovery and future prosperity, as well as inspiring the delivery of positive wider outcomes. Stadium operators, National Associations (NAs) and Professional Clubs with stadiums should therefore use this guidance to look forward and engage with representative organisations and / or trades unions to develop workplace specific plans to operate safely within the current restrictions, allowing sufficient time for that joint work.

In response to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, this guidance aims to support stadium operators – including NAs and Professional Clubs – take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for all within their stadia so they can open as safely as possible within the current restrictions.

It provides guidance on:

  • hand and respiratory hygiene
  • environmental cleaning – pre-opening, routine and deep-clean
  • ventilation
  • face coverings
  • changing facilities
  • deliveries, distribution and visitors.

Links are also provided to other guidance and sources of information.

This guidance will be reviewed and updated in line with Scotland’s Strategic Framework.

Although there are encouraging signs of progress, it is vitally important we all continue to adhere to all appropriate guidance to ensure we continue to suppress the virus.

That means Stadium operators, NAs and Professional Clubs with stadiums:

  • ensuring all personnel are advised not to attend if they are self-isolating for any reason
  • supporting any personnel to self-isolate if required
  • making every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position – where someone can perform their work from home, they should continue to do so

And it also means:

  • optimal ventilation in all enclosed spaces
  • while face coverings are not required during physical activity, they must be worn when there are no measures in place
  • effective hand and respiratory hygiene
  • appropriate risk assessment of personnel and procedures
  • maintain and promote good ventilation
  • wear face coverings in certain settings
  • use good hand and respiratory hygiene and surface cleaning
  • stay at home and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms  
  • work from home where possible and appropriate

Further detail on all of these is contained in this guidance.

We have worked with representative organisations and trades unions to ensure this guidance is evidence-based, fair and ethical, clear and realistic. As each venue is different, NAs and Professional Clubs with stadiums should work with representative organisations and / or trades unions to determine how best to apply this guidance in their specific circumstances. 

This document is underpinned by a spirit of collaboration. Throughout, the term “representative organisations and / or trades unions” is used in that context, recognising NAs and Professional Clubs with stadiums have a legal responsibility to maintain workplace health and safety and must consult with the health and safety representative selected by the recognised representative body or trade union or, if there is not one, a representative chosen by employees. 

This guidance emphasises, in particular, the importance of undertaking robust and ongoing risk-based assessments with full input from trade union or workforce representatives, and to keep all risk mitigation measures under regular review.

Our guidance on Safer Workplaces aims to assist employers, businesses and their workforce ensure a safe working environment.

Other key guidance includes:

  • HPS: COVID-19 Non Healthcare Settings guidance which provides information on the background to COVID-19, symptoms, general principles of infection prevention and control and health protection measures and what to do if someone becomes unwell on site;
  • NHS Inform, which has a wide range of useful public-facing information including details on symptoms and what to do; and
  • The Test and Protect website contains information on how people who are self-isolating can get tested.

For specific settings within stadia – for example, retail or hospitality – please refer to the specific guidance for those sectors:

This is provided as guidance only and does not amount to legal advice. NAs and Professional Clubs may wish to seek their own advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements. 

This sectoral guidance is supported by detailed guidance for football and rugby produced by the governing bodies.

First published: 9 Aug 2021 Last updated: 9 Sep 2021 -