Return to Competitions and Events

For the purposes of this guidance the following definitions apply.

  • Sports competitionis 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 eventis 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 competitionis 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

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 a maximum of 5000 participants per day

Beyond Level 0 – No restrictions, but organisers should continue to consult with and obtain agreement from those bodies that they would normally require agreement from.

Indoor Competition Participant Numbers

Risk assessed maximum numbers must follow Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): 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.

Spectators

‘Beyond Level 0’ a maximum of 5000 people outdoors and 2000 people indoors can spectate subject to the organiser following Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance and/or obtaining relevant permissions, where they normally would be required to do so.  Any increase in these numbers must be agreed directly with the appropriate local authority prior to the competition going ahead.

Should local restrictions or Levels be re-introduced Scottish Government events sector guidance, at that time, should be followed and relevant local authority consents obtained.

 

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 Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance.

  1. Organised sporting events can take place indoors and outdoors if RTS and events sector 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 a maximum of 5000 participants per day

Beyond Level 0 – No restrictions, but organisers should continue to consult with and obtain agreement from those bodies that they would normally require agreement from.

Indoor Event Participant Numbers

Risk assessed maximum numbers following Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): sport and leisure facilities.

Spectators

‘Beyond Level 0’ a maximum of 5000 people outdoors and 2000 people indoors can spectate subject to the organiser following Coronavirus (COVID-19) stadia and live events guidance and/or obtaining relevant permissions, where they normally would be required to do so.  Any increase in these numbers must be agreed directly with the appropriate local authority prior to the competition going ahead.

Should local restrictions or Levels be re-introduced Scottish Government events sector guidance, at that time, should be followed and relevant local authority consents obtained.

Event Guidance planning

Additional event guidance is available to help the planning of your event. 

 

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 below should be followed.  

If you are not operating under approved RPS guidance and require additional planning support, then contact sportscotland for further information at:

returntoevents@sportscotland.org.uk

Elite/Performance Event & Competition Process

Scottish or UK Elite Performance Event/Competition

Beyond Level 0

Where no local restrictions or protection levels apply, Scottish or UK elite performance events and/or competitions, with no international competitors travelling to attend from abroad, may proceed if the Latest sport and physical activity guidance is followed and agreement is obtained from those bodies that the organiser would normally require agreement from to run the event/competition.  An Event Planning template and Thinking Tool is provided below to support organisers in planning their competition / event.

Where the event/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 event, may include the landowner, Community Council, the transport police, or other body responsible for the safety of the public.

Where Local Restrictions / Protection Levels Apply

Where local restrictions or protection levels apply organisers should ensure agreement is obtained from local partners such as the local authority/environmental health team.  Additionally, sportscotland should be contacted to ensure appropriate plans and risk assessments are in place and to obtain permission for the event/competition to take place with elite/performance exemptions. Outline plans should be provided to sportscotland by the organiser at least 8 weeks prior to the event/competition.

International Event or Competition

International travel to Scotland and the rest of the UK is currently restricted. 

Events/Competitions involving international based athletes can be run where no levels or restrictions apply, however unless specific authorisation is provided by Scottish Government then no elite performance sport exemptions can be applied and all those taking part must follow general public Coronavirus (COVID-19): international travel and managed isolation (quarantine) guidance.

If your organisation is planning an international elite performance level event or competition which will (or may) require elite performance exemptions, then Scottish Government should be informed at least 8 weeks prior to the event/competition so that they can consider whether it can be added to schedule 3A legislation. 

Events and competitions currently covered by schedule 3A can be viewed at The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Should a competition / event be added to schedule 3A the organiser should also put in place appropriate plans and risk assessments which must be approved by Scottish Government prior to the event/competition taking place.

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

Further information regarding elite performance exemptions is available from your sportscotland Partnership Manager / High Performance Manager (if applicable) or alternatively by contacting returntoevents@sportscotland.org.uk

Scottish Government can also be contacted at ActiveScotland@gov.scot.

Date published: 28 April 2021
Date updated: 15 September 2021

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