SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster welcomes Scottish Government decision to lift crowd restrictions on football matches

Supporters were given the green light by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to attend Premiership matches from next Monday

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster has welcomed Nicola Sturgeon announcement to allow fans to return to Scottish Premiership matches, admitting it will provide clubs with a “financial boost”.

The First Minister confirmed earlier today the 500-spectator limit imposed by the Scottish Government on Boxing Day will end next Monday, ensuring the second Old Firm clash of the season can be played in front of a capacity 60,000 crowd at Parkhead on February 2.

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However, in order for supporters to gain entry into football grounds across the country, they must now be fully vaccinated - including a booster jag for those who had a second dose more than four months ago - or have proof of a negative lateral flow test.

Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Professional Football League, has welcomed the decision to lift crowd restrictions on matches. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Clubs must also increase spot-checks from 20 per cent of attendees to at least 1,000 spectators or 50 per cent of attendance, whichever number is higher.

Doncaster believes the return of supporters to football grounds will provide a much-needed cash injection for clubs, with the top-flight resuming on January 17th when Celtic host Hibernian in a repeat of last month’s Premier Sports Cup Final.

He said: “Today’s announcement is a sensible decision that will be welcomed by clubs and hundreds of thousands of fans across the country.

“Football is not the same without supporters, and I know how much it will mean to them to be back in stadiums watching matches again.

“This news will also be a real financial boost for our 42 member clubs, who have faced an incredibly challenging set of circumstances since the pandemic began.

Celtic fans queue to show their vaccine passports as they enter the ground for the UEFA Europa League Group G match at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

“Clubs will continue to play their part to keep fans and players safe and I would like to thank them for their efforts in following the most recent restrictions at such short notice.

“Everyone in Scottish football can now look forward to some cracking matches and a really competitive second half to the season.”