SCOTTISH RUGBY are hopeful that the Scottish Government will accede to their request for permission to host the Edinburgh versus Glasgow Warriors match at Murrayfield on 22nd August in front of a limited crowd, as opposed to behind closed doors as is happening with other professional sports across the UK at the moment due to the threat posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senior staff met with Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, yesterday [Thursday] to explain their plans for getting the sport back up and running, and took the opportunity to propose the use of BT Murrayfield as “a potential test venue with circa 1000 spectators” for the Edinburgh versus Warriors game.
“We are pleased to announce that the Cabinet Secretary, supported by Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch and Andy Sinclair from Active Scotland, agreed to consider a formal Scottish Rugby plan for a BT Murrayfield test event in August, subject to agreed public health mitigations,” reported Scottish Rugby Chief Operating Officer Dominic McKay, in a message sent to clubs earlier this evening.
“This is a welcome sign and demonstrates the dedication of the Government to get sport in Scotland, elite and community, back up and running as soon as is practical,” he added.
With just under two months to go until the match is scheduled to be played, Scottish Rugby will view this as an important first step towards getting cash running through the business again.
The communication also provided a link to the updated Phase 2 Return to Rugby guidelines for clubs and schools, which will come into effect on 29th June, with guidance provided on both re-opening pitches and safely organising training, as well as explaining that a number of new roles must be created within clubs specifically to provide a safe environment from the on-going threat of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that payment of all players by domestic clubs below Premiership has now been outlawed, as was originally planned before the 2019-20 season before a late change of plan.
“The Scottish Rugby Council and Board agreed the final draft of a new player payment regulation at their June meetings, completing a process which began at the Union’s 2018 AGM with a request to bring forward proposals to regulate the payment of players,” said the communication.
“Following widespread consultation, the Council’s governance committee reported that member clubs believed that financial sustainability and fair competition must be at the heart of community rugby. Their report therefore recommended that from 2020-21 clubs below the Premiership must not pay players or offer players material benefits for playing. A further review of payments within the Premiership is to be conducted during the 2020-21 season.
“Under the new regulation clubs may have up to two players in their team who are paid by the club, but only if the payment relates to a non-playing capacity (such as for services as a Development Officer). There must be no link between the payment and playing for the club.”