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First Minister and National Clinical Director respond to question of continuation of football in Scotland

By David Porter

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Responding during the coronavirus briefing today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch were questioned today on whether professional football in Scotland should continue at present.

Professor Jason Leitch
Professor Jason Leitch

Professor Leitch: "Professional Sport is exempt for the purposes of training and participating and clubs can move around the country to play, but they must have very strong mitigations to do so, both for travel and for then competing

"I would expect their numbers to be minimal so they keep their support staff to a minimum and keep to the rules for distancing and face coverings that the rest of us have to adhere to.

"Some of them may have the virus and should behave as if they have.

The First Minister said: "Football is as many will have gathered not necessarily my favourite subject.

"The exemptions are not just for their benefit, many people in Scotland love watching their teams so we are trying to give people that bit of normality, so it is for your benefit not just theirs.

"But if any sport does not stick to the restrictions, and it is a privilege, then all bets are off and we will have to look again at this and we will not guarantee that we will not have to change this.

"To sports people involved, don't abuse your situation."

On lower leagues when questioned on teams looking to halt the season she said: "We are continuing to discuss the situation with the football authorities, they have been to see them continue, but in any walk of life, be it someone asked to go into a non-essential work place or a lower league footballer we do not want people who do not feel confident or safe then we have to listen to that and the football authority has to as well.

Professor Leitch added: "At the beginning of these restrictions we had long conversations about what professional football meant and the seven teirs of professional football which takes us down to senior women's teams by example.

"We and the football authorities are in conversation and if that is the feeling of the teams at that level they should listen, but that is a decision for them, not for us."

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