Scotland’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch said that limiting fans at football games to just 500 people is not based on modeling but simply that “you have to draw the line somewhere”.
Most clubs except the club who were happy to play Ibrox with a few others were extremely disappointed when new rules were introduced to limit the number of supporters at matches.
The restrictions start on Boxing Day and will last for at least three weeks. This will prevent fans from seeing some of the biggest derbies in the country, including our lifeline at Celtic Park against the rangers, Dundee United’s visit to Den’s Park to face Dundee and the Edinburgh Derby as Hibs takes on Hearts. It will cost these teams a fortune in lost revenue.
There has been talk of bringing the Premiership Cinch’s winter break forward by one week, but no deal has yet been reached with Scotland’s football authorities who are due to make a decision at a meeting tonight.
Leitch appeared on bbc Radio Scotland to discuss the new rules, answering questions from callers.
During this show, he admitted that the new restrictions were a choice of the Scottish government rather than being based on scientific modeling.
Leitch said: “Of course you have to draw the line somewhere, we’ve drawn it at various points lately. It is very difficult to choose a number, you can choose zero, 10,000 or somewhere in between.
“It’s a judgment, of course it’s based on trying to keep the risk as low as possible, but the alternative is just to shut them down completely. So you are absolutely right: it is only a judgment.
“There is no particular public health route that leads you to 500 people”.
Host Stephen Jardine then pointed out to Leitch that no matter how many people attended, there was always a chance, even with numbers as low as 500, that people could still be infected. He replied, “This is true of just about everything we do. So when we say “cut down on your socialization, if you have to go socialize with only three families”, it is not without risk.
“There is no safe road here, so governments and advisers are making choices about which risks to take and which not. Yesterday you heard the Prime Minister prioritize education, life events and family reunions.
“Now you can choose a different list. You can choose the pubs and hospitality from this list. The Scottish government chose life events, education and family reunions ”.
Shooting a number like 500 out of the air and forcing all clubs out, regardless of the size of their stadium or the protocols they have in place at the venue, just doesn’t make sense. Hopefully the Scottish football authorities come to their senses tonight and put a stop to football altogether from Christmas on instead of the lingering football misery being played out again in empty stadiums.