Dunfermline Athletic


Date: Saturday, 27th Feb 2021

Steve Clarke has begged Nicola Sturgeon to allow the fans back into Hampden for the Euros in June when we meet Croatia and the Czech Republic in Group Games.

In England the Prime Minister,Boris Johnson, in a much less cautious 4 step roadmap than we have in Scotland, wants the return of English Football, with crowds as early as 17th May. That would be a real bonus for fans who have had to stay away up to now and make use of their BetRegal Bonus Code from home.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is encouraging the return of Scots Fans to Wembley. Pressure is on Holyrood to follow suit against a backdrop of what Public Health Scotland has called the "spectacular Vaccine results" in Scotland.

The figures for Fife (49 per 100,000), are some of the best in Scotland with only 3.6% of positive tests nationally today. The WHO has said we have the pandemic under control if incidence is below 5%. The EFL are preparing for crowds of around 4000 initially and the EPL 10,000 depending on the size of the stadium.The showpiece FA Cup Final may have a crowd.

We have known, for almost a year, that it is incredibly rare for Covid to be transmitted outdoors. That is why golf, tennis, cricket, outdoor swimming, kayaking, sailing, bowls, fishing, etc were soon allowed back.

The WHO said it was much easier to socially distance in the outdoors. The virus had to navigate wind heat, sleet, rain, snow, humidity, a gale to leap between people. The Epidemiology of Infectious diseases departments of Nottingham and Oxford Universities and Imperial College all agree that you are far less likely to touch an infected surface outside.

Suspended viral particles are diluted by fresh air and fall to the ground. UV sunlight destroys virus particles. Now a SAGE Professor, Dr Andrew Hayward, has said that smaller crowds could safely be reintroduced to sports stadia. Of Course this would depend on the vaccine rollout, deaths, infection rates and the impact of new variants. The fact that the EU yesterday agreed the introduction of the "Vaccine Passport", now endorsed by the Queen, will have a considerable impact too.

It is difficult to see why there is such a delay in Scotland now. Yes there have been bitter well documented attacks on the Scottish Government by Hospitality and Tourism and Aviation and Education but, surely, East End Park and similar sized clubs can safely be opened now.

I am unclear what a Gate of 300 at 22,000 capacity Pittodrue told any one or 700 at 64,000 Murrayfield, but a 4000 initial Gate at East End would, surely be safe. There can be a staggered entry and departure, designated seats, mask wearing, social distancing, assigned turnstiles, hand washing,a check on temperature, photo ID, there are adequate clean toilets, there would be no cafe or bar or hospitality meal and no away fans.

Perhaps only Season ticket holders attending in the first instance.The streaming of live games by the likes of Pars TV must continue. (ED: yes totally agree this point ! ;o) )

The JRG has again been meeting Leagues 1 and 2, Women`s Football, The Lowland and Highland Leagues and talks continue regarding the delayed Scottish FA Cup. Prof Jason Leitch and the new Sports Minister argue more time is needed to allow fans back in but there needs to be clarity about a return.

The PCR testing and protocols carried out by clubs such as Dunfermline have been excellent. I would anticipate the same from the lower Divisions.

Meanwhile, there was no mention whatever in the Scottish Government`s road map this week for the return to normality at sports venues. That needs to change.

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