Raith Rovers locked in coronavirus talks

Raith Rovers will play in front of reduced crowds for the next three weeks as the Scottish Government attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

By Paul McCabe
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 5:34 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 5:45 pm
Partick Thistle's Scott Tiffoney is tackled by Dylan Tait last Saturday (Pic: Euan Cherry/SNS Group)
Partick Thistle's Scott Tiffoney is tackled by Dylan Tait last Saturday (Pic: Euan Cherry/SNS Group)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon put a cap on the amount of people attending outdoor sporting events at 500 from Boxing Day until January 16, beginning with Raith’s trip to Ayr United this Sunday.

The Stark’s Park side’s games against Queen of the South on the 29th and the Fife derby on January 2 – both at home – will also be affected as the goverment take action to try to quell the rise of the Omicron variant.

A trip to Inverness on January 8 and the clash in Kirkcaldy with current league leaders Arbroath will also suffer limited access for supporters.

Announcing the new measures, Sturgeon said: “For outdoor events, the limit will be 500 seated or standing.

“Physical distancing will be required at events that go ahead within these limits.

“This will of course make sports matches, including football, effectively spectator-free over this three-week period; a situation similar to that in Wales from Boxing Day.”

Representatives from all 10 Championship clubs were locked in a meeting which began at 3pm this afternoon to try and decide which was the best way to tackle the issue.

Raith officials were understood to be seeking clarity on whether the 500 allowed included the players, management, officials and others who would be needed to put on a match outwith the fans.

The club released a statement which said: “Whilst we appreciate that Covid infections have been increasing, the announcement from the First Minister about the new restrictions imposed on Scottish football fans was unexpected by the club.

“We share the disappointment and frustration of our fans and no-one more than the staff and players at Raith Rovers want the supporters at our matches as our 12th man.

"Our priority is finding the best safe solution for fans, players and staff alike.

“The club are currently seeking clarity from the SPFL and SFA regarding the guidelines.”

It is expected that the financial viability of putting on games with such low numbers will also be discussed as some SPFL clubs reported a loss when the season started with reduced capacities.