SFA's joint response group cynical over Celtic Park vaccine passports

By Euan Davidson

September 1, 2021

The SFA’s joint response group has cast doubt on the feasibility of vaccine passport usage for Celtic Park and other football stadia.

Today, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Holyrood would vote on the necessity of vaccine passports for hospitality venues, nightclubs, and any event with over 10,000 capacity [BBC].

Covid-19 cases have been rising in Scotland, with nine deaths today alone [BBC]. However, restrictions were eased this summer, with people returning to entertainment venues, the football and other large-scale events.

However, the SFA’s joint response group is cynical that football stadia, including Celtic Park, have the appropriate infrastructure.

The JRG said [Scotsman]:

“We have today raised concerns on the considerable unintended consequences of implementing a certification process without sufficient time or appropriate IT infrastructure in place.

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“We will endeavour to establish full details in the coming days. But [we] stress the need to ensure a practical and workable solution for member clubs, their staff and supporters. In particular, season ticket holders who bought their tickets in good faith. And, on the understanding they would be allowed back into the stadium when restrictions were lifted.

“We ask ministers to carefully consider the unintended consequences of certification, especially in such a short timeframe. And, request a meeting with Scottish Government to discuss the matter and its implications for clubs prior to a parliamentary vote.”

Quotes have been edited for length.

What is a vaccine passport, and will I need one for Celtic Park?

Should the vaccine passport vote go the SNP’s way, what does it mean? Well, people wishing to attend large events will need certification of having received both vaccines.

Vaccine passports are easy enough to get, provided you have internet access and a phone. Obviously, that isn’t true of everyone, let alone the 50,000 who’ll be hoping for entry into Celtic Park. QR codes have been accepted in England [Scotsman], while paper forms of the passport are also available.

Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The NHS Scotland Inform website has a handy guide to accessing your vaccine passport here.

Although it’s another bit of admin for Celtic fans to consider, many will likely see the value if it means continued access to Paradise. However, it may require far more staffing. Equally, queues will undoubtedly be longer in front of the turnstiles, and not all clubs may have the IT in place to carry it out.

So, it’s easy to see where the SFA are coming from, here.

Read more: Former Celt explains his move from Parkhead