Murrayfield will make a change from the usual oval ball game to the round ball game when the stadium plays host to soccer giants Barcelona as they take on Hearts as part of their pre-season training camp.
The news was announced today by the those involved, the official press release follows:
The sports management and conference business PLATINUM ONE has today (Thursday May 3rd) confirmed that FC Barcelona will play Heart of Midlothian FC at Murrayfield on Saturday July 28th at 5pm.
PLATINUM ONE has contracted with Barcelona for a week of its 2007/08 pre-season and, as well as training in Scotland, the team will play two matches, the second of which takes place against Hearts in Edinburgh.
PLATINUM ONE, Heart of Midlothian and Scottish Rugby have reached an agreement to jointly promote the match and in the interests of making it accessible to as many sports fans as possible it is being staged at Murrayfield, the home of Scottish Rugby.
Commenting, Roman Romanov, Hearts Chairman said: "We are absolutely delighted that FC Barcelona has agreed to play Hearts in this challenge match. It is a sign of Hearts growing status as a football club and business in Scotland and Europe that we've been able to attract opposition with the prestige of FC Barcelona.
"The match will represent a stern test for our squad the week before the new season begins. It will also be a very exciting occasion for Hearts supporters and football supporters in Scotland as a whole. This will be an event at which the club has the opportunity to demonstrate that Hearts is the Heart and soul of Edinburgh " and Scotland.
"We're delighted to be working in this unique partnership with PLATINUM ONE, Scottish Rugby and our friends from FC Barcelona."
The Chief Executive of Scottish Rugby, Gordon McKie, said Scottish Rugby was also excited about the prospect of hosting the great Catalan club and working again with Hearts, with whom Scottish Rugby has had an excellent relationship.
"Bringing the match here means a lot more supporters can see some of the world's greatest footballers than would otherwise have been possible. We are happy to be in a position to provide that facility. This match is also a great opportunity for Scottish Rugby to showcase Murrayfield to a different international audience.
"The match will be broadcast to new territories for us and to viewers who would not necessarily follow rugby union. It is important that Scotland is portrayed in the right manner and our national stadium will add considerably to the creation of the right impression."
Tickets for this game are also on sale now and can be purchased through Hearts Ticket Centre (in person, online at www.heartsfc.co.uk) (24 hours), or via 0871 663 1874 (24 hours); and through the Scottish Rugby Ticket Centre in person or by phone on 0131 346 5100 or on-line at www.scottishrugby.org. The Ticket Centre is staffed from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
Barcelona will stay at the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews and will use the facilities at the neighbouring university for training. Speaking on behalf of FC Barcelona, its Director of Football, Txiki Begiristain said the club was greatly impressed by what Scotland had to offer and looked forward to a very successful week.
"At St. Andrews we have found the ideal training environment. The North of Europe is ideal for pre/season training because the temperature is not so high there. Furthermore Scotland has always had a passion for football. These two factors coupled with the facilities at St. Andrews means that we have found the ideal environment for our pre/season training camp which is one of the most important events of the year for our team"
"We have chosen two very good rivals to fit our progressive preparation and we look forward to playing in front of the wonderful, world renowned Scottish football fans."
On Thursday evening, July 26th Barcelona will play Dundee United at Tannadice.
Announcing the agreement, Fintan Drury, Chairman of PLATINUM ONE said that discussions on the initiative had commenced last October and the company was excited about bringing one of the world??"s great clubs to Scotland.
"We had some discussions with Barcelona a year ago with a view to bringing them to Scotland in the summer of 2006 but we could not conclude arrangements in time. Barcelona were, though, very attracted by what Scotland has to offer and we began discussions again last autumn and we are delighted that this time everything has been satisfactorily concluded."
The agreement between PLATINUM ONE and FC Barcelona binds the club to bring the full first team squad and to play its senior players in both matches.
Fintan Drury said he wanted to thank Scottish Rugby and Hearts for their co-operation in making the match at Murrayfield a reality.
He added: "We work in professional sport and in conference and corporate event management. We have been in business in Ireland since 1991 and established an office in Scotland 18 months ago. We did so because we believed that the country had a considerable amount to offer to the international market in both areas of our business.
"Our experience in establishing this programme, on behalf of one of the biggest sports franchises in the world, has reinforced us in that view. We hope that all sports lovers in Edinburgh and not just Hearts fans will come to Murrayfield on July 28th."
PLATINUM ONE has contracted the broadcast rights for Scotland and Ireland to Setanta and both Barcelona matches will be shown live and exclusively on Setanta sports. They will also be broadcast live in Spain.