Scottish Greens call for Saturday's Celtic v Rangers derby to be aired free by Sky

The Scottish Green Party has called on the Holyrood government to convince Sky Sports to make Saturday’s derby meeting between Celtic and Rangers a free to air event in order to lessen a possible spread of Covid-19.

Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th October 2020, 6:06 pm
Celtic's Christopher Jullien goes close during the the Glasgow clubs' last meeting in December 2019, before Covid-19  prevented supporters entering stadiums as will be the case when the pair lock horns  on Saturday (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Celtic's Christopher Jullien goes close during the the Glasgow clubs' last meeting in December 2019, before Covid-19 prevented supporters entering stadiums as will be the case when the pair lock horns on Saturday (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged against all non-essential travel. The plea comes amid fears current coronavirus restrictions that have led to pubs being closed in the central belt could lead supporters to travel to English virus hotspots such as Blackpool to watch the first meeting between Scotland’s top draws since the global pandemic took grip in February.

Scottish Greens health and sport spokesperson Alison Johnstone maintains the prospect of the game becoming a super-spreader event could be mitigated by Sky Sports offering the encounter to all on a free basis. Celtic season book holders will be able to access the game on television through the Pass To Paradise that is part of their package, but only Rangers supporters with a Sky subscription will be able to beam the game into their living rooms.

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

“Football is so important to so many people and I understand just how frustrating it is for fans at the moment who just want to watch their team play,” said MSP Johnstone.”Essential public health restrictions have meant that grounds have had to remain closed, and now that pubs in the central belt are closed only those who have Sky Sports at home will be able to watch this weekend’s game.

“The First Minister has raised concerns that people may go to one another’s homes or even travel to pubs in England to watch the game. This would risk increasing transmission of the virus just at the time when we’ve brought in additional measures to bring it under control.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Scottish Government to urgently engage with the football authorities, and Sky Sports, to establish whether it might be possible to broadcast Saturday’s Celtic vs Rangers game on free to air tv. I’m confident the overwhelming majority of people will continue to follow the rules as they have throughout this crisis, but broadcasting the game free to air would allow everyone to watch at home, reducing the risk of people heading out to watch the game and spreading the virus.”

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