How Jason Leitch envisions away supporters returning to Scottish football grounds next season

Jason Leitch believes Scottish football grounds will be able to welcome in away supporters next season but reckons it could be a slower process than the return of home fans.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 2:10 pm
Celtic players celebrate in front of the away fans at Dens Park in 2019. Picture: SNS

The National Clinical Director expects a cautious approach over the first few weeks of the campaign but, if things go smoothly this winter, then clubs may again adopt an open-access policy with regards to ticketing.

Once the country reaches level 0, which is expected to come in late June, 2,000 spectators will be allowed into stadiums with bigger crowds initially possible on an application basis to the Scottish Government such as this year’s European Championships which will see around 25 per cent of Hampden’s 50,000 capacity in attendance.

If cases and deaths continue to drop then this will open further. However, with clubs still getting used to safety measures in the first few weeks and months, Leitch imagines the return of away supporters will be a more gradual process.

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He told Off the Ball: “I can imagine the start of the season being like that, where everyone is still getting used to how it works: to make sure one-way systems are working, the car parks are safe, all of that.

“If I were in charge of a club I’d be thinking that this is a big change, this is everyone coming back, we’ve got to do this correctly. Let’s think only home fans for the first six weeks. We’ve got their names and addresses. Then, maybe, you allow in away fans as part of a supporters group, so you’d know who they all were. So it’s still not open ticketing.

“With regards to the whole season, it depends on what happens in winter. The winter is a little bit of an unknown for us in terms of the virus. We’ll probably need more vaccinations and a surge of the virus globally, so winter is a bit tricky.

“But I can imagine a scenario where we start with home fans, move into away fans who we know, and then maybe later in the season we start getting that open access for everybody.

“The big unknown just now is physical distancing. If we still need to have physical distancing then basically the whole country has to have eradicated the virus to make it safe.”

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