Nicola Sturgeon rules out sport in stadiums any time soon due to coronavirus

Even closed-door events are unlikely as restrictions continue

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says sport is unlikely to return soon.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that sport in front of fans will not return any time soon - and even closed-door events may not be possible until a coronavirus vaccine is found.

Supporters hoping to restart football and rugby matches in the next couple of months have been advised that mass gatherings will not be permitted as the Scottish Government fights against the global pandemic.

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Scottish football, in line with all other sports, was shutdown last month as the entire United Kingdom entered lockdown. Sturgeon admitted that is likely to remain the case for some considerable time.

Some clubs and organisations are loosely planning to resume training in the next few weeks, but playing games is impossible with restrictions likely to remain in place for some time.

"I would absolutely say that people should not be under the expectation that large-scale mass gatherings will be starting any time soon because we must make sure that we are doing everything we can to continue to suppress this virus," explained Sturgeon.

"As we start to lift restrictions, we must have the capability in place to test, trace, isolate to replace those restrictions, but also to continue to have the understanding that some form of social distancing is going to be required - perhaps up to the point where a vaccine is available.

"We want to get a semblance of normality back into people's lives but we cannot do that in a way that risks a resurgence of this virus.

"I know that is not good news for the majority of our population who have sport as a really important part of their lives, culture and leisure time. But it would be wrong for me to give false expectation right now about an early resumption of football matches, rugby matches or large-scale sporting events like that.

"In terms of playing behind closed doors, clearly there are issues there. Does that completely take away the risk of big events?

"If a match is being played behind closed doors but it's still on television, the danger then is people will still congregate together in groups to watch. These things all have to be very carefully considered and they will be."

Scotland's Interim Chief Medical Officer, Gregor Smith, added: "The very act of playing behind closed doors doesn't mean to say you won't get gatherings of people to try to enjoy sport together. All it does sometimes is it displaces people to other environments to watch that sport together, so we need to be very careful.

"Again, we need to be led by where the science and the evidence is for the future as we begin to learn how to live with this virus."