The two Scottish teams in the BBL and WBBL can finally get back in action after an easing of restrictions from the Scottish Government.

Only elite football, rugby and horse racing had previously been allowed to keep going under coronavirus guidelines for sport.

But after lobbying at Holyrood and plans drawn up by officials at Sportscotland, Glasgow Rocks were given the same allowances as their English counterparts.

And it meant they could officially start their pre-season at the Emirates Arena on Tuesday – and to plan to tip off their BBL campaign behind closed doors at home on November 1 – after rule changes lifted what was effectively a Covid ban..

It also gives Women’s BBL outfit Caledonia Pride the green light to get back in action next month with the league expected to have a staggered start.

“We have the go ahead,” said Rocks chair Duncan Smillie. “All protocols, like physical distancing and hand sanitisation, should be followed before and after practice. But we do now have full contact training allowed for a period on the court.”

League leaders when the domestic season was cancelled in March, the Rocks – whose players agreed contracts that wouldn’t pay out until a start date was set – will still await news of the exact level of support for the BBL coming from the government before giving a final thumbs-up to a return to the court.

Indications of the tough road ahead to complete a condensed campaign were underlined when Leicester Riders were forced to call off a pre-season friendly last weekend with several players testing positive for coronavirus.

But the new rules in Scotland now allow “close quarters coaching, combat sports sparring, teams sports tackling and equipment sharing” with hygiene measures in place.

“While this is good news for performance and professional athletes, public health and wellbeing remains the most pressing priority at this time,” a Sportscotland spokesperson said.

“We must all continue to play our part in supressing the spread of the virus by adhering to government guidance to ensure that the transition back to sport, at all levels, is as safe as possible.

“ As we continue to move through the Scottish Government’s route map through and out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to work with our partners in the Scottish Government, governing bodies of sport and local authorities to support the phased return of sport at all levels.”

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