Scottish Cup final can have fans in attendance if moved from Hampden, Jason Leitch confirms
Fans can attend the 2021 Scottish Cup final if the Scottish FA move the match away from Hampden Park, Jason Leitch has confirmed.
The national clinical director was quizzed on whether it would be possible for supporters to be allowed to watch the showpiece event in person as the Scottish Government updated the public on the latest plans for easing lockdown restrictions amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
As it stands, the match between Hibs and St Johnstone is due to take place on May 22 with no supporters in attendance at the national stadium. This is due to the SFA handing over control of the stadium to Uefa ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Elsewhere in the country, a maximum of 500 supporters will be allowed to attend any professional football match without permission. Higher crowds could also be allowed in if granted permission by either the local authority or Scottish Government.
As Leitch explained: “The cup final is relatively straightforward.
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“The cup final cannot be at Hampden for operational reasons that the SFA and Uefa are doing.
“If the SFA decide to move the cup final that is a matter for them, not for us. We have said these are the numbers you can have in stadia at each of the levels. So, we’re now moving to Level 2 on Monday and Level 1, hopefully, on the 7th of June.
“That number is a minimum. If the SFA want to apply for more they apply to the local authority wherever they chose to hold the game. If it’s still too high it comes to the Scottish Government and we would decide, with the mitigations in place and everything else, whether that crowd was allowed.
“But if they move it to a stadium in Level 2, outside of Hampden, yes they can have a crowd.”
Prior to his side’s 2-0 victory over Dundee United, Hibs manager Jack Ross called on the football authorities to do more to ensure the final was played in front of spectators.
He said: “I know people will point to the commute, but when you open shopping centres people travel to those so I don’t understand.
“It’s huge in people’s lives and we don’t just want football fans back to pay bills, or to make a noise. We want them in stadiums because it’s a huge part of their mental health.
“I do think we should be doing more to address that, particularly when you look at a snooker final being played in front of nigh-on 1000 people indoors. I struggle with that. I don’t get the logic. I am sure someone more knowledgeable regarding science will tell me why that is the case. But it is slightly baffling for me.
“I think with the strides we are making, with the vaccination programme etc, I do think it is an opportunity to progress it. Particularly when you look at the fact there will soon be thousands of fans inside stadiums at the Euros.
“It’s almost like we have accepted it for this season. We’ve almost rolled over and said it’s not going to happen, let’s worry about next season. It’s a shame, because there’s still some big games over the next couple of weeks.”