Return to Competitions and Events

For the purposes of this guidance the following definitions apply.

  • Sports competition is defined as “any amateur participation sport, contest or race involving individual participants or teams who regularly compete against opponents as part of an organised SGB, league, local authority or club activity.”
  • Sports event is defined as “an organised gathering or activity of limited duration that brings people together for the primary purpose of participating in one-off sporting activity such as a marathon, triathlon etc.” For the benefit of this guidance professional sport with spectators is regarded as a sports event not competition.
  • Elite sports event or competition is defined as “an organised professional or performance activity which falls under Resumption of Performance Sport guidelines and protocols allowing additional exemptions for elite athletes.

Process for organising sport or physical activity events or competitions

When organising or running a competition or event you should ensure to follow specific guidance/information as outlined below.  A process flow diagram is also available to aid decision making.

Should you have any specific queries or questions please contact, as appropriate, either:

Use the tabs below to switch between the information for each event type

Sport competitions

If your activity meets the definition of a sports competition then follow, as relevant, either the Return to Sport (RTS) guidance published by sportscotland or Scottish Governing Body (SGB) specific guidance which can be found here

Organised sport competition can take place indoors and outdoors if appropriate RTS or approved SGB guidance (in line with Scottish Government protection levels) is followed and subject to appropriate risk assessment and oversight by the designated Covid Officer.

The maximum number of participants allowed to take part in a sporting competition is outlined below. Any variation to this must be agreed with Scottish Government:

Outdoor Competition Participant Numbers

An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’, including multiple bubbles, can be used for organised competitions.  Coaches, officials, and other volunteers are not included in these numbers at Levels 0-2, but planning should ensure only the minimum number are involved to ensure that a safe, well run activity is delivered:

Level 3 – Bubbles of up to 30 with a maximum of 200 participants per day

Level 2 – Bubbles of up to 50 with a maximum of 500 participants per day

Level 1 – Bubbles of up to 100 with a maximum of 1000 participants per day

Level 0 – Bubbles of up to 500 with no participant limit per day

Indoor Competition Participant Numbers

Risk assessed maximum numbers following Scottish Government guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities

Operators and organisers should where relevant, as part of their risk assessment, consult with and obtain agreement from those bodies that they would normally require agreement from to run the competition. Where the competition would require a licence from the local authority under existing Civic Government legislation, this must include agreement from local Environmental Health Officers. Other bodies depending on the type, location and scale of the competition, may include the landowner, Community Council, the transport police, or other body responsible for the safety of the public.

Spectating is currently not permitted at sporting competitions other than where a parent or carer is supervising a child or vulnerable adult.

Sports events

If your activity meets the definition of a sports event, then SGBs, organisers and operators should follow Return to Sport (RTS) guidance published by sportscotland which can be found here as well as Scottish Government: events sector guidance.

  1. Organised sporting events can take place indoors and outdoors if RTS and events guidance is followed and subject to appropriate Scottish Government protection level, risk assessment and oversight by the designated Covid Officer.
  2. The maximum number of participants allowed to take part in a sport event is noted below. Any variation to this must be agreed with Scottish Government:

Outdoor Event Participant Numbers

An outdoor sporting ‘field of play bubble’, including multiple bubbles, can be used for organised events up to the limits noted below.  Coaches, officials, and other volunteers are not included in these numbers at Levels 0-2, but planning should ensure only the minimum number are involved to ensure that a safe, well run activity is delivered:

Level 3 – Bubbles of up to 30 with a maximum of 200 participants per day

Level 2 – Bubbles of up to 50 with a maximum of 500 participants per day

Level 1 – Bubbles of up to 100 with a maximum of 1000 participants per day

Level 0 – Bubbles of up to 500 with no participant limit per day

Indoor Event Participant Numbers

Risk assessed maximum numbers following Scottish Government guidance on the opening of indoor and outdoor sport and leisure facilities

Event Specific Guidance

Event specific guidance is now available here

Elite/performance events & competitions

If your elite/performance sports event or competition is operating under Resumption of Performance Sport (RPS) protocols which have been approved by sportscotland or Scottish Government then timelines and processes outlined under the Event & Competition Process should be followed.  

If you are not operating under approved RPS guidance then contact sportscotland for further information at:

returntoevents@sportscotland.org.uk

Elite/Performance Event & Competition Process

Supporting Information & Tools

Event Plan Template

The attached template is available to support event/competition organisers in putting together plans.  The template is not intended as advice but rather a broad framework for partners to consider when planning an event or competition.  

Thinking Tool

The attached ‘Thinking Tool’ has been developed to support SGB planning and understanding of what is required when planning for performance sport events and competitions for participants within Scotland and the UK.

Support

Should you require further support when putting your plan together please don’t hesitate to contact your SGBs High Performance Manager (if applicable) or returntoevents@sportscotland.org.uk and someone will get back to you.

Date published: 28 April 2021
Date updated: 19 May 2021

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