Coronavirus: Scottish football looks at 'hub' venues for restart

Scottish Rugby are keen to make Murrayfield a bio-safe hub
Scottish Rugby are keen to make Murrayfield a bio-safe hub

The use of 'hub' stadiums to enable Scottish football to resume in front of fans is being considered by the game's Joint Response Group (JRG).

The venues would host "multiple matches over a weekend" with practicalities such as the number of stadiums used being considered in the next fortnight.

Among the other issues discussed during the first two weeks of talks between six sub-groups are social distancing in stadia, closed-door games, online streaming, virtual season tickets, and a change to the summer transfer window.

Scottish FA President and JRG chair Rod Petrie thanked the 69 football figures on the groups for "the dutiful way in which they have embraced the challenges and responsibilities" of how to restart the game.

However, he reiterated that any return would be in adherence in Scottish government guidance.

On Tuesday, SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan said Scottish football "must do everything humanly possible" to resume "by the end of July".

However, football is suspended until 10 June under current guidelines and the JRG have said six weeks of training would be needed before competitive matches could be played.

A further update is expected from the JRG at the end of May.

Before then, each sub-group - medical, club and stadium operations, club and supporter welfare, broadcast and innovation, welfare, and grassroots - have a series of "next steps" to consider.

Among these are:

  • Developing medical protocols for training and games, plus screening, testing and management of those with Covid-19;
  • How to put supporter-based considerations into the hub stadium idea;
  • A working group to look at a "behind closed doors or a hybrid model" for the Premiership and another for the lower leagues;
  • Another to look at player contract issues in the light of new government guidance.

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