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LAWWELL PLEA TO HOLYROOD BOSSES

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PETER LAWWELL has urged Scottish Government leaders to give the green light to fans returning to football grounds.

The Celtic chief executive has joined forces with the Scottish Rugby Union bosses to put together a proposal that will allow supporters into Parkhead and Murrayfield, as CQN reported yesterday.

Lawwell revealed he is hopeful of running the first ‘test event’ this month and ahead of the Premiership’s scheduled kick-off on August 1.

The SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay has been given a tentative go-ahead from Holyrood to put on a trial run in front of around 1,000 rugby followers at Murrayfield on August 22, when the Pro-14 will restart with Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh due to meet.

The nine-in-a-row champions are looking for similar dispensation in a bid to prove supporters can be kept socially distanced and in a secure environment.

Lawwell, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Nearly half of the nations in Europe are back playing with crowds, so it’s a much more positive situation than it was just three or four weeks ago.

“We’re now seeing grounds in Denmark operating at 50 per cent capacity, Finland are up at 50 per cent and Holland hope to start on the first of September with 25 per cent. On the same day, Denmark hope to get up to 100 per cent.

“These are all great signs of the progress being made around Europe and, here in Scotland, we have been working with the SRU to show that we can do something similar.

“We thank them for their help and we are working towards hosting a test event in a pre-season friendly towards the end of July. We hope we can work in collaboration with the SRU and the Government to get it up and running.”

The Hoops supremo has not ruled out the possibility of some fans in attendance for the unfurling of yet another championship flag, the 51st in the club’s history.

Asked if this was a realistic target, he answered: “I don’t think it’s impossible, definitely not. We’ll certainly be ready for it.

“Matchday revenue is absolutely vital for Scottish clubs due to the levels of our broadcast deals.

“It’s our main income, therefore, if we don’t get crowds back as soon as possible then the effects of this pandemic will be even more strongly felt than they already have been.”

Celtic last played a competitive fixture in the east end of Glasgow on Saturday, March 7, when they beat St Mirren 5-0 in the league before the curtain came down on the campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 
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