There are 'strong advocates' in government for return of live sport, says Prof Leitch

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland sports news correspondent
Scottish Rugby is aiming to host a pilot event when the Pro14 returns on 22 August
Scottish Rugby is aiming to host a pilot event when the Pro14 returns on 22 August

There are "strong advocates" for the return of live sports events both inside and outside of government, says Scotland's national clinical director.

Talks have been taking place with the Scottish government about test events with partial crowds.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell called for pilot games and warned Scotland must not be "left behind".

"We will make decisions based on what we believe the best science is," Professor Jason Leitch said.

"But you can be assured that there are very strong advocates for live sport both inside government and outside government, fighting the corner that sport will be in that mix when we use the headroom wisely and carefully."

Scottish Rugby is proposing to have some fans in for the return of the Pro14 at Murrayfield on 22 August, and while the Scottish Premiership football season is to start behind closed doors on Saturday, clubs are keen to reintroduce crowds as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed a plan to reopen grounds in England "in the autumn" with pilots from 1 August.

Prof Leitch warned there is a risk that allowing spectators in too early could "set us back", and delay the return of crowds further.

But he described the Scottish FA's plans to use the Nations League tie with Israel in early September as a test event as "very sensible".

"I'm not going to give a date," he added.

"But we are in consultation with the senior medics in each of the sports, and then Mr FitzPatrick, the minister for sport, is in touch with me and the chief executives and the directors of these sports, to try and find a way that we can do something that doesn't look dissimilar to that."

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