Capacity crowds are allowed to return at major sporting events in Scotland such as football and rugby, says Nicola Sturgeon

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SCOTLAND will again welcome capacity crowds for major football and rugby matches from Monday.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced she is lifting rules that limited crowds to just 500 supporters from December 26 due to the Omicron wave.

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Nicola Sturgeon has good news for sports fans
Rangers are due to visit Celtic Park on February 2

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Rangers are due to visit Celtic Park on February 2

Scottish clubs had considered playing games in England in an attempt to circumvent the rules.

But clubs in the north of England or the Midlands could charge sums north of £250,000 for the privilege of using their grounds.

Ahead of Ms Sturgeon’s statement, SNP ministers agreed to lift the 500-person limit on outdoor gatherings as planned from Monday.

However, restrictions on indoor events and hospitality venues – such as mandatory table service and one-metre distancing between groups – have been extended for an additional week until at least January 24.

It also emerged that Scots would now need a reminder to use vaccine passports – including for football pitches.

On December 21, Ms Sturgeon announced measures “for a period of three weeks”, meaning more restrictions on large events, hospitality and indoor sports than in England.

Despite aiming to keep them in place for three weeks from December 26 and 27, Ms Sturgeon said MSPs were ‘cautious to remain cautious and cautious’ despite ‘signs that we may be starting to take a turning” in the Omicron wave.

The change means crowds will be able to return to Premiership football matches and the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Premiership clubs return from their first winter break next week – with Celtic hosting Hibs on January 17.

But the prime minister did not mention whether restrictions on people taking part in indoor sports would be lifted.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “We will start lifting the protective measures announced before Christmas from Monday, but in a gradual way, which will allow us in the days to come to form a clearer picture of infection trends and associated impacts.

“As a reminder, the measures I am specifically referring to here are the limits on participation in live public events, the requirement of distance between groups in indoor public places and the requirement of table service in hospitality places. serving alcohol on site.

“I plan to confirm further dates next week. However, I can confirm today that the attendance limit of 500 people at large-scale outdoor events will be lifted from Monday 17 January.

“This means, for example, that spectators will once again be allowed at major outdoor sporting events, including football matches scheduled for early next week and upcoming Six Nations rugby matches.”

Revealing the changes to the Covid certification system, she said: “First, our guidelines will now state that organizers of large events of 1000 or more people must verify the certification status of at least 50% of attendees, rather than the 20% current. , or at least 1,000 people – whichever is greater.

“And, secondly, from Monday, the requirement to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose is more than four months old.”

A group of Rangers fans staged a protest in the Scottish Parliament over the government’s handling of Covid fan curbs.

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