Rangers FC fan: We fear Scottish Covid passport system will block Old Firm fans from Ibrox

A leading Rangers supporter says there is “deep unease” among fans about Scotland’s plans to introduce Covid vaccine passports, that could restrict their access to games.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 2:38 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 5:32 pm

The Scottish government is planning to introduce a so-called vaccine passport system for sports and entertainment venues from October 1 to keep case numbers down this winter.

But Rangers supporter and writer Graeme Hanna, from Belfast, says the plans are causing apprehension among the hundreds of Old Firm supporters in NI.

“They have also said that anyone who has been vaccinated outside of Scotland will not be eligible [for entry] to matches in Scotland, and therefore a vaccine passport has been planned.

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Graeme Hanna, a Rangers FC fan and writer from Belfast, says supporters are concerned that a vaccine passport system being introduced by the Scottish government could see them barred from attending matches in Glasgow.

“So if this goes ahead the large contingent of Rangers and indeed Celtic supporters who travel every other week from Northern Ireland to Glasgow will effectively be forbidden from getting into Ibrox or Parkhead [the home grounds of the two teams].”

He understands the Scottish system will be based on a mobile phone app from NHS Scotland.

“But those people vaccinated outside of Scotland will  not qualify for the passport. The Scottish government says it is working with the rest of the UK for a solution as well as for oversea visitors.”

He estimates that several hundred Rangers fans and a similar number of Celtic fans travel to Glasgow every other week from NI to support their teams.

“The boats to Scotland are just full of them. It is causing apprehension. For supporters, this is basically their lives every other weekend, travelling to Scotland, supporting their team and meeting friends. It doesn’t sit easy with them.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government told the News Letter that the ‘Scottish certification scheme’ will accept proof of vaccination from other UK countries, but that details of the scheme are still under development.

“We are working with other UK jurisdictions to ensure interoperability across the UK as well as considering how evidence of vaccination for people from outwith the UK can be verified,” she added. 

A spokesman for the Stormont Department of Health responded that they are currently producing vaccination certificates in line with EU / WHO specifications to allow international travel and have shared details with other UK nations and the Foreign Office that will enable NI certificates to be verified in other countries.

“NI citizens travelling to other countries where domestic use certification schemes are in place, may choose to use such certification in line with policies in place in that country,” he added.

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