A MEETING between SRU officials and Murrayfield Wanderers FC on Wednesday will seek to find the solution to an impasse which is threatening the future of one of the oldest and most successful women’s clubs in Scottish rugby.
The decision by a sizable majority of Wanderers’ women’s squad to defect across the city to link up with Heriot’s [operating out of Stewart’s Melville’s Inverleith ground] left the club unable to fulfil Sunday’s opening fixture in this season’s Tennent’s Women’s Premier League campaign against Cartha Queens Park due to lack of numbers.
The schism appears to be closely linked to Wanderers moving away from their traditional base inside the Murrayfield Stadium campus due to the SRU’s decision not to renew their long-standing lease.
The successful women’s section – who were Scottish league champions three times on the trot between 2015 and 2017 and have been Sarah Beaney [Scottish] Cup winners 12 times since 2001 – appear to have been concerned about the impact that losing access to the facilities at Murrayfield might have on their ability to continue as one of the leading lights in the women’s game in this country.
It seems that the departing players had hoped to transfer their position in the top flight over to their new club but the SRU’s position is that the slot belongs to Murrayfield Wanderers and is not transferrable. Wanderers are keen to retain their women’s section, which has grown into a key tranche of the club’s s overall structure since its inception in 1995.
Losing the women’s section is likely to have significant funding implications at a time when the club is looking to create a new, permanent home at nearby Roseburn Park (where the men’s section will play their first home league game of the season against Gordonians on Saturday).
The girls’ section is believed to be committed to staying under the Murrayfield Wanderers umbrella.
Murrayfield Wanderers were the only club not represented at yesterday’s launch of the Tennent’s Women’s Premier League. A number of club members were contacted but none were available for comment.