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Thursday 13th August 2020

Joint Response Group update 13/08/20

The Joint Response Group today outlines a wide range of measures agreed with the Scottish Government to reinforce Scottish football’s commitment to public health and adherence to protocols.

These measures have been approved by the JRG and follow extensive discussions with Scottish Government Ministers and health advisers.  
They are as follows: 
ENFORCEMENT - The JRG has worked to ensure that existing rules will be strengthened to include the provision of sanctions for players who do not adhere to COVID-specific football protocols or government public health guidelines. This will encompass recent breaches and further details will be provided tomorrow.  
EVALUATION - In order to provide government health officials with the necessary confidence that Scottish football can return safely and in accordance with relevant government guidelines and football protocols, the Scottish FA has agreed that the return to training for clubs outwith the SPFL Premiership – which includes all organised adult football over-18 - will be delayed until at least 24 August, pending updated government guidance on the 20th. This is to ensure that:

• All club facilities comply with the current JRG Protocols, social distancing and hygiene measures.

• All club policies and procedures comply with the current protocols and government guidance.

• Club testing regimes in the professional game comply with the protocols.

• Players and staff at all levels of the game have been reminded of the latest government guidance. 
EDUCATION - Professor Jason Leitch, the National Clinical Director for Scotland, has produced a video message outlining, in the clearest terms, what professional footballers can and cannot do within the existing government guidelines. This message with be reinforced on a regular basis via digital communication.  
- The SPFL and Scottish FA have gifted Scottish Government advertising space to promote public health messaging on matchdays in-stadia, using LED advertising and via other owned assets for all SPFL competitions and the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals and final. 
Rod Petrie, Joint Response Group Chair: “The message from First Minister could not have been clearer. The JRG must now ensure that the planned resumption of football beyond the Scottish Premiership is done in a controlled manner with the strictest adherence to protocols and guidelines.  
“The pause on the return to training for the professional game outwith the Scottish Premiership will not impact on the proposed start dates of the respective league competitions but will give sufficient time to reinforce protocols, educate players and make sure of the ability of clubs in the lower divisions to conform.” 
Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive: “Today’s measures underline the fact that Scottish football is doing everything it possibly can to protect our game. The recent, high-profile breaches must be used as further motivation for all those with our game’s best interests at heart to comply absolutely with these necessary restrictions and safeguards.”