National Clinical Director doubts crowds before October – but leaves door open for Murrayfield as a ‘test venue’

Professor Jason Leitch is one of the government officials considering a proposal to play the Edinburgh versus Glasgow Warriors match in front of 1,000 strong crowd

Glasgow Warriors centre Peter Horne trains on the back pitches at Murrayfield yesterday ahead of a return to action on 22nd August. Image: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON
Glasgow Warriors centre Peter Horne trains on the back pitches at Murrayfield yesterday ahead of a return to action on 22nd August. Image: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON

NATIONAL clinical director Professor Jason Leith says there is “pretty much no chance” of socially distanced supporters attending professional sports matches before October, but indicated that Scottish Rugby’s ambitions of using Murrayfield as a test venue with a very small crowd inside the biggest stadium in Scotland when Edinburgh play Glasgow Warriors on 22nd August is a real possibility.

“We’ve had early conversations with a couple of stadia,” Professor Leitch told BBC Scotland. “Running through the processes, about how you would separate fans, where you would put the alcohol gel, how you would manage the club bubble and people. So it’s not a full-scale crowds are back – even physically distanced.

“I think we’re saying pretty much no chance of crowds in August. I am as keen as everybody to get back to those crowds, but we need to do it behind closed doors first for sure.

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“I can’t imagine physically-distanced crowds in August or September. I might be wrong and with a fair wind we might get there. I think we might run some test events during that two month period. It might be a big match but a small test event crowd.

“Then thinking about into the autumn and winter I would hope if things remain good then we might be able to get back to physically-distanced crowds.”

Scottish Rugby announced last Friday that they have put a proposal to the Scottish Government for Murrayfield to be used as a test venue on 22nd August, with a crowd of around 1,000 being permitted into the 67,000 seater stadium. Leitch is one of the people looking at the proposal, along with Andy Sinclair of Active Scotland and Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Fiona Hyslop.

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David Barnes
About David Barnes 1860 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

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