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Pro-Sports Finally Return To Scotland

June 22, 2020

- Grant Whittington

It’s official: professional sports have returned to Scotland. This after the Scottish government made known its decision to relax some of the more stringent health and safety measures instituted since around the middle of March this year. Scotland on June 19 officially graduated to the second phase of its reopening of its economy and declared sport open and in action as from June 22nd.

Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe Fitzpatrick, described the country’s reopening of its sports sector as one undoubtedly welcomed by most and a move that represents yet another significant step on the country’s return to recovery and normality. Fitzpatrick furthermore confirmed that the Scottish government would be doing everything in its power so as to ensure that all Scotland-based sports participants are completely up to speed with and also continue to adhere to Scottish rules, regulations and health-focused guidance. This, said Fitzpatrick, will apply specifically to those areas that differ from UK guidelines and regulations.

Cooperation Is The Key

Fitzpatrick also emphasised that a successful return to normalcy, along with a safe reopening of the country’s sports sector, can only really be assured given a constructive and positive relationship between government itself and sports bodies like Scottish Racing.

Scottish Racing has already made known an outline of its plans for the resumption of races, on the premise that all races planned for the immediate future will be competed behind closed doors, i.e. with no fans physically present.

Ayr has confirmed its plans for a first meet to take place on June 24 and with a second to follow shortly after on June 28. Both races will take place at Hamilton. The two Ayr races will be the very first races run since March 16th.

Return Is A Happy Day

Scotland is home to no fewer than 5 premium racecourses. And as what could have been expected, and expressed as such by Scottish Racing manager Delly Innes, the time in lockdown has been trying as well as incredibly and significantly challenging for everyone working in and involved in the industry.

But at the same time, concluded Innes, right now is also a supremely exciting time for horseracing in Scotland, and as such, Scottish Racing looks forward to a safe resumption of races and ongoing adherence to public health guidelines so as to ensure a successful – but mostly safe – time is had by all.

Guidelines as published by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will apply also to racing in Scotland. BHA guidelines include strictly adhering to a list of persons permitted to attend the actual races and meetings, proper health and temperature screenings, physical distancing guidelines strictly followed, and the ongoing and effective use of personal protective equipment, or PPE.

As mentioned previously, Scotland will not only adhere to British guidelines, but also to additional measures implemented by the Scottish government.

Readiness Is Success, Says Rust

Horseracing is already underway in England. The British government extended its permission for a return of professional sports to commence on June 1st. Wales also saw live racing behind closed doors make a return early last week.

According to BHA CEO Nick Rust, a successful horseracing return at Newcastle at the beginning of June bodes well for the return of Scottish horseracing. Rust described racing as a “truly nationwide” sport as far as Scotland is concerned and the chief executive declared it a joyous occasion to be able to celebrate a safe and successful return. Rust described Scottish Racing’s imminent return as an indication of readiness in terms of it being the first major sport to resume activities.

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