National clinical director Professor Jason Leitch has given Scottish football fans a big boost by announcing that stadiums could return to full capacity as early as August.
Capacity crowds haven’t been seen in Scotland since March 2020 when the pandemic forced the game into a complete shutdown.
The sport returned behind closed doors in July of last year and games were been played without fans until the final flurry of last season when play-off matches were allowed 500 fans in, socially distant.
This summer’s Euro 2020 Championships has seen a further step towards normality, with 12,000 fans attending games at Hampden this month.
And now Professor Leitch has indicated stadiums could return to full capacity on August 10 after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Covid restrictions across all sectors in society are set to be lifted on a so-called ‘Freedom Day’ on August 9.
Speaking on BBC radio’s Sunday Show, Leitch was asked if stadiums would be full after August 9 and he said: “Yes, they can on August 10th.
“But we’ve had to learn that new word, that indicative word.
“So we have given advice that with a fair wind the trajectory we are presently on with vaccinations, remember, we are vaccinating 300,000 people every 10 days so that’s a lot of vaccine and this six weeks buys us quite a lot of vaccine time.
“If people come and that’s the important thing people can do then, yes, we hope August 9 and 10 can happen.
“On August 9, the level system disappears, unless, for instance, there were particular hotspots or the country didn’t do what we hope it will do.
“Maybe vaccinations slow down for some reason. It’s a bit indicative, then on August 9 physical distancing is removed and the limits on event sizes are removed.”
If things go according plan, it would see clubs able to welcome fans back in time for the second round of the Premier Sports Cup on August 14.
The competitive action in Scotland gets underway with limited fans on July 9 when the Premier Sports Cup group stages kick-off. The league campaigns start a few weeks later on July 31.