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St Johnstone can stage Europa League qualifier in Perth

Soccer – UEFA Europa League – Second Round Qualifier – Second Leg – St Johnstone v Rosenborg – McDiarmid Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

St Johnstone will be able to host Galatasaray in Perth and travel to Turkey after Scottish Government intervention.

It was feared the Perth side would have to play both legs of their potential Europa League clash with the Turkish outfit at a neutral venue due to coronavirus travel restrictions, with Saints facing additional costs to stage the games.

However, Scottish football’s Joint Response Group and the Scottish Government have held talks with a view to helping clubs facing opposition from red listed countries, or teams who have played in red-listed countries.

Red-listed countries remain outside the scope of automatic quarantine exemptions for elite sports people and backroom staff.

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However, Scottish ministers and government medical officers have agreed to offer an exemption to teams travelling to and from Turkey with additional mitigations.

The deal will be a major relief to the Scottish Cup winners, who are likely to face Galatasaray in the Europa League third qualifying round early next month.

The Turkish side lost 5-1 in the first leg of their Champions League second qualifying round tie against PSV Eindhoven. The losers drop into the Europa League to face Saints while the winners could meet Celtic.

Mitigations include a ban on away fans at each game; a maximum 48-hour stay for travelling clubs; a requirement to remain in the team bubble; and three mandatory PCR tests for each individual travelling.

Ian Maxwell

Ian Maxwell held talks with the Scottish Government (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “We are grateful for the co-operation of Scottish Government in finding a solution to the existing travel guidance, which will enable Scottish clubs to participate in UEFA club competitions safely provided they follow additional mitigations.

“We will continue to liaise with government on implications for men’s and women’s clubs and match officials regarding foreign travel during European competitions.”

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, added: “These steps to allow the games to go ahead are only being taken following extremely careful consideration of any potential threat to wider public health.”