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Sports fans given September return date by Sturgeon

Scottish football clubs could welcome back a limited number of spectators for the first time since March on September 14 Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday.

Her comments to the Scottish Parliament came a week after she threatened to give football in the country a “red card” and bring the season to a halt if there were further breaches of the coronavirus protocols.

Eight Aberdeen players had been to a bar and Celtic defender Boli Bolingoli did not self isolate after returning from a trip to Spain.

The two clubs had both their Premiership games last week postponed as a result — Aberdeen had already sat out one game prior to that.

However, Sturgeon sounded a more positive note on Thursday in her three-week review of lockdown restrictions to MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament).

“Given the volatility of the virus, there is the very real possibility that some, or all, of these plans could change,” she said.

“We hope from September 14 sports stadia will be opened although only with a limited number of spectators, and with strict physical distancing in place,” said Sturgeon.

“Some professional sports events may be arranged for spectators before then — with Scottish government agreement — to test the safety of any new arrangements.”

The Scottish Premiership campaign started on August 1 behind closed doors.

Clubs in the Championship and Leagues One and Two begin their 2020-21 season with Cup matches on October 6, while the league campaigns kick off on October 17.

Scottish Rugby is hoping the Pro14 match between Edinburgh and Glasgow at Murrayfield on August 28 will be used as a test event.

The proposal means the first meeting this season between Celtic and bitter rivals Rangers on October 17 could be played in front of a reduced crowd at Parkhead.

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