Omicron in Fife: New COVID rules wipe our crowds for clubs’ big festive fixtures

Fife’s top flight sports teams are facing the prospect of their crucial Christmas crowds being wiped out after devastating limits were placed on the numbers of spectators allowed.

The stands will be all but empty for the big Fife derby this New Year (Pic: Michael Gillen)
The stands will be all but empty for the big Fife derby this New Year (Pic: Michael Gillen)

The Scottish Government has ruled that no more than 500 people, either seated or standing, can watch outdoor events.

And that number is cut to just 200 for indoor shows where seated, and 100 when standing with social distancing to be in place.

The measures, which take effect from Boxing Day for a period of at least three weeks, are aimed at minimising social contact to halt the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant of COVID.

Fife Ice Arena can host just 200 fans

But they will leave the region’s teams facing potentially hefty financial losses.

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One of the biggest hit will be the Fife derby between Raith Rovers and Dunfermline Athletic at Stark’s Park on Tuesday, January 2.

Rovers also have home games scheduled for December 29 against Queen of the South and Arbroath on January 15, plus a trip to Inverness on the eighth.

The Pars are down to host Arbroath on Boxing Day, Inverness on the 29th and Hamilton on January 15, as well as a road trip to Morton on the eighth.

A statement issued by Pars today said the club was waiting for guidance from the SPFL and the JRG regarding fixtures during that period.

It added: “Once we have that, supporters will be informed immediately - in the meantime, please do not contact the Ticket Office.”The club said it appreciated there was huge uncertainty following the Scottish Government announcement but asked fans to remain patient.

The crowd limits will also impact on Scottish ice hockey’s top flight clubs as they prepare for a festive schedule which often generates its biggest gates.

They now face playing in front of 200 fans rather than 2000.

And that will have a massive impact on the Christmas campaign which sees Fife Flyers, Dundee Stars and Glasgow Clan go ahead to head across all three rinks.

In Wales, Cardiff Devils are facing the prospect of playing behind closed doors after its devolved government effectively banned all spectators.

December 26 marks the start of the Scottish derby ‘season’ with Flyers travelling to face Dundee Stars - a match which has often attracted a near full house.

Other games affected include Dundee in Kirkcaldy on Tuesday 28th, and back to back Ne’er meetings with Glasgow Clan - two of the biggest gates of the season which have, in the past, attracted full houses.

The clubs are scheduled to meet in Renfrew on Hogmanay and again in Kirkcaldy on January 2.

Flyers then return to Dundee on the third before hosting Belfast on January 8 and Nottingham on the 15th.

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