Omicron bus rule confusion as clubs seek clarity

Celtic team bus
SPFL clubs were told that stricter measures would be put in place to counter the rise of the Omicron Covid-19 variant

Clarity is being sought amid confusion over travel protocols for Scottish clubs due to the Covid Omicron variant.

The Scottish FA and SPFL Joint Response Group (JRG) told clubs all people on a bus must self-isolate for 10 days if one tests positive for the new strain.

Some teams then altered their travel arrangements as a result.

However, Scotland's national clinical director Prof Jason Leitch said on Saturday people can test and release if double vaccinated.

The document sent by the JRG, which has been seen by BBC Scotland, stated "clubs must risk assess their own travel arrangements considering this information [about everyone on a bus needing to self-isolate]" and that the rule had been confirmed by the Scottish government.

But speaking on BBC Scotland's Off The Ball, Prof Leitch said: "There's rules that the government set, and the rules that each sector sets."

He added: "If you are in charge of the Hearts bus or the St Johnstone bus, you are thinking about trying to increase that distancing again going back to how it used to be.

"But if you don't live in the same household, the government rules are that you can test, isolate until your test is back negative, then go about your business."

Aberdeen took an extra bus to Perth for their victory over St Johnstone, with manager Stephen Glass adding: "It's something we're hoping that there's real clarification on soon because these boys are testing pretty regularly and it would be great to keep the games on, because otherwise I fear if that happens [that everyone on the bus has to isolate] it's going to be difficult.

"It's important there's rules and regulations in place and no grey areas, and I think that's a pretty simple thing to do."

St Johnstone counterpart Callum Davidson added: "We're hoping for clarity on the Covid rules. I can't afford to lose a whole bus of players."

BBC Scotland has contacted the JRG for comment.

Scientists are warning that the UK is facing a substantial wave of Omicron infections in January without further restrictions and Scotland recorded 5,018 new Covid cases on Friday.

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