Scottish sport to be 'spectator-free' to combat Omicron

London (AFP) – Scottish sports events will become "effectively spectator-free" as part of a drive to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Tuesday.


Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament that crowds at outdoor public events would be capped at 500 from December 26 for "up to three weeks".

The announcement follows even tougher measures announced in Wales, where all sports events must be held behind closed doors from the same day.

The new rules in Scotland will impact football fixtures over the Christmas and New Year period including the Old Firm derby between Celtic and Rangers on January 2.

They will also affect the double-header between Glasgow and Edinburgh in the United Rugby Championship.

Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 spectators, indoor seated events to 200, and outdoor events to 500 people.

"This will of course make sports matches, including football, effectively spectator-free over this three-week period," Sturgeon said.

"And it will also mean that large-scale Hogmanay (New Year) celebrations, including that planned here in our capital city (Edinburgh), will not proceed.

"I know how disappointing this will be for those looking forward to these events, and for the organisers of them."

The Scottish Premiership is due to shut down on January 4 for two weekends as part of a scheduled winter break.