Hibs chief Leeann Dempster urges fans to follow FACTS

Fans encouraged to follow guidance to help speed up return to stadiums

By Patrick McPartlin
Wednesday, 16th September 2020, 7:30 am
Melker Hallberg helps promote the FACTS acronym at the Hibernian Training Centre
Melker Hallberg helps promote the FACTS acronym at the Hibernian Training Centre

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has urged Easter Road supporters to follow FACTS, the five-point acronym outlining the key steps in keeping coronavirus under control.

FACTS, which stands for Face coverings, Avoid crowded places, Clean hands and surfaces regularly, Two-metre physical distancing, and Self-isolate and book a test immediately if you have symptoms, was launched by the Scottish Government in mid-June, to coincide with the country's shift into phase two of its lockdown exit strategy.

With the wider return of fans to Scottish stadiums delayed until October 5 at the earliest, the Hibs chief - backed by Swedish midfielder Melker Hallberg - has urged supporters to keep adhering to the guidelines to help speed up their phased return to Easter Road.

Sign up to our Hibs football newsletter

Dempster said: "As a club we know our influence extends beyond the pitch, and everyone involved with Hibernian is in no doubt about the part we all have to play in following the guidelines to restrict any spread of the virus.

"Whether it’s ensuring our players and staff can go about their work in the safest possible environment or enabling Easter Road Stadium to welcome supporters back when the time is right, we have to look out for each other and protect our community by following FACTS.

"It’s a straightforward message that we are happy to endorse.”

Some fans did return to Scottish matches last weekend, with a small number of supporters at Aberdeen's match with Kilmarnock and Ross County v Celtic in two pilot events.

Up to 300 supporters were in attendance at both Pittodrie and the Global Energy Stadium on Saturday in what was the first time fans have been allowed entrance to a Scottish football stadium since March, while 700 spectators attended last month's rugby PRO14 clash between Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield in a similar test event.

However, there are no similar schemes scheduled for the forthcoming weekend.

Scottish football's Joint Response Group recently agreed a wide range of measures with the Scottish Government to reinforce the game's commitment to public health, including the SPFL and Scottish FA promoting FACTS messaging within stadiums on match days.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, said: "We are all the first line of defence against this virus and I’m pleased we have this support from football clubs urging fans to keep to the guidance to avoid moving backwards or spreading the virus.

“Each letter of FACTS represents one of the vital measures we all need to follow to keep ourselves and those we love safe.

"Only working together and following the guidance together, will we succeed in controlling the spread.

"We welcome this support at club level and would urge football fans to play their part in helping protect the progress that has been made, and ask that they to continue to following these vital steps to keep themselves and their families safe and work with us so that as we suppress the virus we can see the things that matter to us safely return.”