SFA CHIEF IAN MAXWELL HIGHLIGHTS GROWING CONCERN FOR COVID CASE INCREASE

Dear club
As you will no doubt be aware, the number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to rise.
Indeed, the First Minister has announced today that a record number of cases have been
recorded in the past 24 hours – more than 6800.
Given the significant role our football clubs play in communities across Scotland, and in
keeping with our collective effort to protect public health during the ongoing pandemic, we
have been asked by Scottish Government to help reinforce compliance with baseline
mitigation measures at this crucial juncture.
Whilst the Scottish Government anticipated a rise in cases with the gradual removal of
restrictions post-lockdown, none the less the scale of increase is of real concern.
The Joint Response Group is seeking your help in relaying messages and reinforcing actions
that will not only keep our people and our supporters safe but crucially mitigate the very
real possibility of restrictions being reintroduced that could have significant implications for
our clubs.
The Health Secretary has reaffirmed a message to Scottish football today “to encourage
people in your sector to get both doses when offered”. As you know, Professor Jason Leitch
will attend a Zoom call on Monday at 5pm for players and staff of clubs under the
professional exemption to reinforce the facts behind the vaccination programme.
In the letter, which you will find attached, the Health Secretary issues a stark warning that if
the surge continues or accelerates “then we cannot rule out having to re-impose some
restrictions”.
Scottish football has only been reunited with its fan base in recent weeks. The JRG asks for
your help in reminding your players and team staff of their responsibilities in complying with
the existing guidance, regulations and protocols but also in reminding fans ahead of this
weekend’s fixtures to do their bit to ensure they can continue to enjoy the national game in
person.
We would urge all clubs to use the power of their social media platforms to remind fans to
take the following measures before, during and after attending a match. We would also ask
that this message, where possible, is relayed via email or newsletters to supporters to
ensure the message is heard. We ask supporters to:-
1. Not attend a match if they have any symptoms.
2. Take a precautionary Lateral Flow Test before arrival at the stadium.
3. Ensure that mandatory regulations are followed when travelling to and from the
stadium (car, train, supporters’ buses etc) with particularly attention to the wearing
of face coverings.
4. Keep a safe distance when entering and exiting the stadium.
5. Wear a face covering when entering and exiting the stadium.
  • 6.Ensure that mandatory regulations are followed when using hospitality facilities
    within the stadium.
    7.Where possible, keep a distance between you and other supporters when seated in
    the stadium.
    We thank you for your ongoing commitment to the guidance, regulations and protocols and
    for your help in reinforcing the measures which we hope will be heeded and ensure that
    wecan all continue to enjoy the national game with supporters in attendance.
    Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care
    Humza Yousaf MSP
    Mr Ian Maxwell
    Scottish Football Association
    Iang.Maxwell@scottishfa.co.uk
    Mr Neil Doncaster
    Scottish Professional Football League
    NeilDoncaster@spfl.co.uk
    27 August 2021
    COVID-19 MITIGATION MEASURES
    You will be aware that new cases in Scotland have more than doubled during the last week.
    This is one of the sharpest rises we have seen during the pandemic.
    We always knew that cases were likely to rise as restrictions eased. However, the scale of
    the increase is of real concern.
    While the vaccination has significantly weakened the link between new cases and serious
    health harms, and please do continue to encourage people in your sector to get both doses
    when offered, it has not been completely broken.
    Scotland’s health and care service is under considerable pressure and there is a risk that if
    the surge continues or accelerates increasing pressure on hospital beds and ICU
    admissions then we cannot rule out having to re-impose some restrictions.
    We do not want to return to more stringent measures, but this is yet another fragile and
    potentially very pivotal moment in our journey through the pandemic.
    We are asking all sectors as part of a collective wider effort to step up their efforts to
    reduce the spread of the virus.
    This means taking all possible proactive steps to promote and reinforce the baseline
    measures, the promotion of advisory precautionary measures and sector specific good
    practice in your sector.
    • There are four areas that are still required by law:
      1. it continues to be the law (unless for some specific exemptions), that face coverings
      must be worn in all the same indoor settings as they were before 9 August and face
      coverings continue to be required on public transport;
      2. as before, hospitality (restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs, hotels where food/drink
      consumed on the premises) and also now since the opening of the night-time sector,
      entertainment venues (nightclubs, dance halls, discos and sexual entertainment venues) are
      required to collect the contact details of customers so that Test & Protect can continue to
      contact-trace positive cases;
      3. as before, businesses, services providers and places of worship must have regard to
      SG guidance about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus relating to their
      business, service or premises; and
      4. organisers of outdoor events of more than 5,000 people outdoors and 2,000 people
      indoors will still require local authority permission before they can go ahead, as this will allow
      us and local authorities simply to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce the risk
      of large scale gatherings.
      For football this means the strict reinforcement of the need for face coverings at all times
      within indoor elements of stadia and strict adherence to the guidelines around hospitality
      within the stadium setting. All spectators/fans should also be encouraged to undertake lateral
      flow home tests before attending games, which are available for free.
      I would be grateful for your confirmation that this has been conveyed to all clubs, and that in
      turn clubs will reinforce messaging is issued to all spectators as soon as possible.
      Kind regards
      HUMZA YOUSAF