Top Scottish football clubs could move games to ENGLAND if Nicola Sturgeon does not end strict restrictions on Covid fans

SCOTLAND’s top football clubs might consider playing league games in ENGLAND – despite Nicola Sturgeon’s strict restrictions on the Covid crowd.

Rugby bosses are also considering moving the Six Nations clash with England on February 5 to Newcastle if the Scottish Government’s 500 fan limit remains at Murrayfield.

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Matches involving Rangers and Celtic could move south of the border
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has placed restrictions on fans

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Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon has placed restrictions on fansCredit: PA

And SunSport may reveal that rugby’s cross-border proposal is closely watched by senior Scottish football officials.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon declined to give assurances that the 500 fan limit will be lifted after January 17.

Clubs stand to lose fortunes if they are forced to play in nearly empty stadiums over the next few months.

England’s pitches remain packed, causing further frustration for clubs in Scotland’s four divisions.

And it is understood that the prospect of following rugby by moving some Premiership games to the north of England has been raised.

It would be a historic decision, as a top Scottish match has never been played outside the country.

Celtic and Dundee were part of a joint proposal to play a game in America about six years ago.

The Dens Park club were set to take a home game to the United States and high profile talks were held – before it collapsed.

But Scottish clubs could try again in the coming weeks, if current restrictions on sporting events remain in place.

The SPFL board and the SFA are expected to approve any decision to bring across the border to England.

UEFA would also have a say in the matter, while FIFA bosses would have the power to get involved in any final decision.

Yesterday Premier Sturgeon confirmed that the 500 ventilator restriction is expected to remain in place until at least January 17.

SunSport understands that the heads of the FBCL have no reason to believe that the full houses will not return from this date.

Celtic host Hibs that night, when there will be five Premiership games 24 hours later, including Aberdeen against Rangers.

But at the very least, hopefully there will be a significant increase in crowd limits, well in the thousands.

But the government will not make any promises, with Sturgeon insisting it is too early to make the call.

Rugby legend Sir Ian McGeechan

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Rugby legend Sir Ian McGeechanCredit: Rex

She said: “The restrictions on large gatherings will remain in place for now and, I think, until January 17th.

“I really hope we don’t have to go beyond January 17 with these restrictions.

“But I’m not doing anyone any good if I try to give some certainty before we can do it.”

Meanwhile, rugby legend Sir Ian McGeechan wants the Scotland-England clash to be moved to Newcastle if Murrayfield isn’t full.

Gregor Townsend’s men are set to face the Auld Enemy in the Calcutta Cup clash on February 5.

And former Scotland and Lions icon McGeechan believes that a full St James’s Park would be far better than a nearly empty Murrayfield.

He said: “I would love to see the Six Nations exhaust all possibilities to allow as many fans as possible to attend.

“Crowds are what energize games.

“The possibility of moving matches to English venues is certainly intriguing.

“For Scotland, where the maximum capacity for outdoor games is 500, the possibility of playing at St James’ Park would surely be preferable.

“And there are currently no legal restrictions preventing fans from crossing the border.

“No one wants to see the Six Nations behind closed doors again.”

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