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Nicola Sturgeon: Why Rangers vs Dundee United game will go ahead despite Covid fears

Allowing fans to attend football games has been questioned.

Nicola Sturgeon has said without financial support she is unable to cancel large events like the Rangers vs Dundee United game this weekend.

United will face Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday, despite a call from the First Minister for Scots to stay at home wherever possible.

Quizzed about why the event is going ahead, Ms Sturgeon said without the financial support she was unable to compensate businesses if she told them to cancel large events.

It was confirmed the clash will go ahead despite a coronavirus outbreak at Dundee United.

The game was thrown into doubt after a player tested positive, but the club says they are confident they will have the numbers to fulfil the Ibrox fixture.

The match could attract up to 50,000 fans, with the Glasgow side’s game against Dundee earlier in December recording a matchday attendance of over 49,000.

Nicola Sturgeon said she can only advise Scots to think carefully about attending large events like football.

The first minister said she does not have the same financial support as what as available earlier in the pandemic, which was funded by the UK Government.

Without this, she said she was limited to giving people guidance to “stay at home” and could not give clearer instructions to organisers not to go ahead with large events.

“I’m asking people to stay at home as much as they can,” she said.

“Had we the financial support mechanisms that were in place earlier in the pandemic, I would be more able to give straightforward advice to events, to say ‘don’t have them go ahead’.

“I can’t do that if I can’t compensate people.”

Ms Sturgeon is to hold talks later with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which the First Minister said she “hoped would be positive”.

“I had hoped that I would already have spoken to him [Boris Johnson] by now, because we must all realise that with a virus doubling every couple of days there’s no time to waste,” she said.

Speaking at her coronavirus briefing on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government needs certainty it will not be “curtailed in taking essential steps to protect health because of a lack of finance”.

“The one thing that we should all have learned is we need to have the ability to act to protect public health and the ability to act quickly,” Ms Sturgeon told reporters.

Dundee United boss Tam Courts: Don’t lock fans out of game again


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