Scots bring forward winter break in bid to beat worst of omicron surge

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December 23 – The Scottish Professional Football League has confirmed its top flight will bring forward its winter break in the wake of new restrictions on capacity crowds caused by the surge in the Omicron variant.

The period will now start immediately after the Boxing Day matches affecting two rounds of fixtures.  The decision was taken by the SPFL on Wednesday following more than 24 hours of discussions.

Ten of the 12 Premiership clubs were in favour of plan after the Scottish devolved government capped crowds at outdoor events to 500 for a period up to three weeks.

However, Boxing Day games will still go ahead as planned in front of limited crowds.

Fixtures due on December 29 and January 2-3 have been put back to January 17-18 and February 1-2 respectively. The season’s second ‘Old Firm’ derby between Celtic and Rangers, scheduled for January 2, is now due to take place on February 2.

Premiership clubs were initially due to begin their winter break on January 3 and then return with Scottish Cup action around the weekend of January 22-23.

“We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar,” said SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster.

“There are mixed views about what to do for the best. However, a majority favour the postponement of fixtures to give a chance for games scheduled to be played over the festive period to be played in front of fans, once the three-week period of restrictions comes to an end.”

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