Scotland’s football clubs have offered to throw their resources behind a Scottish vaccine programme to ensure the fastest-possible national roll-out.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said the country’s clubs were “ready, willing and able” to assist the NHS and other public bodies by making their facilities available for the mass-vaccination scheme.
“All the arguments in favour of bringing back fans safely, outdoors and socially distanced, are exactly the same reasons why our clubs are uniquely placed to help with the roll-out of the national vaccination programme.
“We have 42 stadiums spread throughout the country, with transport links, parking facilities, expertise in handling crowds and plenty of space to ensure social distancing.
“Everyone knows where their local stadium is located and, with 5 million attendances each season, people are very familiar with how the grounds function.
“We are still awaiting a response from the First Minister to our request for an emergency meeting, and this is one of the topics we would be very keen to discuss.
“Having taken soundings from club chairs, I can tell you there is enormous enthusiasm to play our part in this vital national effort.
“Football clubs are at the very heart of their communities and are already doing so much, despite their own enormous financial pressures, to support health and wellbeing programmes locally.
“It makes perfect sense for us to have dialogue with the First Minister on this topic, as well as the overwhelming arguments for bringing back fans in a safe and secure manner, as they have announced in England.”
Aberdeen FC chairman Dave Cormack echoed the message:
“The club’s very close partnership with Aberdeen FC Community Trust is one of the most vital initiatives we undertake and makes an enormous contribution to the lives of tens of thousands of local people each year.
“Health, wellbeing and educational programmes are at the heart of the Community Trust’s work, which is now more vital than ever and, as a club, we would unhesitatingly support the use of our facilities for the vaccine programme.
“We cannot understand the reluctance on the part of the Government to engage in meaningful planning to allow fans to return safely and securely, in limited numbers, in an outdoor environment.
“Our test event showed it can be done very safely, with not one single issue reported and our fans are as perplexed and frustrated as we are about the lack of progress in the months since.”