SCOTLAND’S adult club teams have been told that they can opt to postpone this weekend’s league fixtures in response to the threat posed by spiralling Covid numbers. There is no requirement for both teams to be in agreement over any postponements, but it is hoped that a reasonable and cooperative approach is adopted. Previously, clubs could only postpone without risking sanction if there was a Covid outbreak in their squad.
Update: as it stands, four Premiership games have now been postponed. They are Selkirk v GHA, Jed-Forest v Marr, Edinburgh Accies v GHA and Aberdeen Grammar v Musselburgh. That leaves Glasgow Hawks v Hawick as the only top flight match going ahead.
“This has been a tough decision as we try to find a balance between looking out for each other and our responsibilities to wider society during the current rise in Covid numbers and, at the same time, not being overly dogmatic,” said Gavin Scott, Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development.
“Training and playing rugby are still considered a low-risk activity from the guidance we have received from the Scottish Government and public health experts, so, as part of that balance, what we are saying to clubs today is you can still train and play this weekend, as long as you ensure any activity is in line with our current Return to Rugby measures and Scottish Government guidance.
“In the event that clubs, on consultation with each other, decide that they would prefer that their fixture was rescheduled to a later date, they may take advantage of a blanket waiver that allows that rescheduling to happen with no penalty imposed on either team. To take advantage of this the clubs should inform the relevant committee secretary by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I thank all supervising the competitions and match officials for their help to facilitate such arrangements. We intend to advise what league fixtures clubs decide to play this weekend by Friday.”
A club communication from Scottish Rugby said: “Given the continued rise in Covid numbers over the festive period – topping 20,000 positive cases yesterday – Scottish Rugby has taken the decision to allow clubs to postpone their scheduled adult club league fixtures this weekend (8 & 9 January).”
“The decision was taken last night following feedback from clubs, discussion with President Ian Barr and Vice President Colin Rigby, and to remain consistent with Scottish Rugby’s desire throughout the pandemic that the wellbeing of the rugby community is paramount.
“In addition to the rise in Covid cases, the subsequent impact on numbers of people self-isolating and potential strains on travel and changing-room usage were also factors in the decision.”
Meanwhile, youth, school and mini-rugby can take place utilising the current Return to Rugby guidance and risk assessment process.