Nicola Sturgeon ‘crisis talks’ demanded by SPFL with Celtic and Rangers impacted

Celtic: Lennon on future before shock exit

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Scottish Premiership chiefs want to hold an urgent meeting with Nicola Sturgeon as they fear missing out on another round of vital season ticket income. Clubs usually start to generate much-needed cash from April to help build their budgets ahead of next season.

But there is still a lot of uncertainty as to whether supporters will be allowed back into grounds for the start of the 2021/22 campaign.

The First Minister Sturgeon yesterday revealed that Scotland’s coronavirus lockdown could be downgraded to level 0 by the end of June.

She has given the green light for Hampden to house 12,000 fans for their scheduled Euro 2020 games this summer.

However, there has been no official confirmation over when domestic football matches will reopen to the public which is putting major stress on clubs.

A senior Premiership official told the Daily Record: “Scotland has been given the go-ahead for around 12,000 fans to be at Hampden for the Euros, providing there aren’t any more spikes with the pandemic, which is brilliant news.

“We know the most important thing is controlling the pandemic and making sure people are safe.

“It is clear things are moving in the right direction and if that continues then will be seeking talks with the Government over the next few weeks to see if we can put a road map in place to get fans back into stadiums.

“We have seen how important football has been throughout the lockdown and getting fans back gradually and then building things up is hopefully the next logical step.

“All the clubs know fans are the lifeblood of our clubs and Scottish football hasn’t been the same without them in the grounds.”

Rangers ended nine years of Celtic dominance this season but their fans have not been allowed to see the powershift up close.

There are hopes that fans will be back to celebrate with Steven Gerrard and his players when they begin their title defence.

But there is still an air of uncertainty, despite Sturgeon delivering a surprise briefing on Tuesday.

“I’ve just mentioned we expect to reach level 0 at the end of June,” she said.

“However I’m well aware that level 0 – although a vast improvement on where we are now – still involves significant restrictions in some respects.

“I want to be clear again that reaching level 0 is not the extent of our ambitions. Later on in the summer – as the number of people who have been vaccinated increases further – we hope that a level of normality well beyond level 0 will become possible.”

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