Scotland’s sporting system is being urged to again play its part in helping stop the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic.
The call comes after the number of confirmed cases rose sharply following the recent easing of lockdown restrictions. While an increase in cases was not unexpected, the scale of the rise is of concern and there is a real need to take decisive action now.
Those at the heart of Scotland’s sporting system, including Scottish Governing Bodies of Sport (SGBs), leisure trusts, clubs and a variety of other local and national partners played a crucial role in earlier efforts to supress the spread of COVID-19 and have demonstrated a commitment to being part of the nation’s long-term recovery.
Significant progress has been made in recent months with the vaccination programme weakening the link between new cases and serious health harms.
However, Scotland’s health and care service is under considerable pressure and there is a risk that if the surge continues or accelerates – increasing pressure on hospital beds and ICU admissions – some restrictions may have to be re-introduced in the future.
Chief Executive of sportscotland, Stewart Harris, has thanked the sporting system for the work it has already undertaken to supress the spread of the virus and again called for their support as the nation looks to address the recent rise in cases.
He said: “The pandemic has presented undoubted challenges to all walks of society, including the sport and physical activity sector, but we have made progress in recent months due to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved. Scotland’s sporting system has played a significant role in the fight against the virus and I am grateful for the leadership the sector has shown.
“There has been a real shared commitment to doing the right thing during what has been the most difficult time ever for our sector. It hasn’t been easy but those involved in sport and physical activity in Scotland have time and time again met the challenge head on.
“It is clear we are far from out of the woods due to the recent rise in cases but by showing that same leadership that we have shown all along and by continuing to do the right thing we will play our part in ensuring we continue to make the progress we all want to see.”
Chair of the SGB Chief Executive Officer Forum, Vinny Bryson, added: “We stand ready to support the effort against the virus in any way and the connected nature of the entire sporting system will help drive cases down as we have before.
“The commitment and flexibility shown by all our clubs, partners and communities throughout the pandemic to play our part - however we can - is as strong as ever.
“Only a committed, connected, industry-wide approach can be effective against the virus. The recent increase in case numbers is of course not something we wanted but we can work through it if we stay together. It’s the only way.”