Matches and Tours

Scottish Rugby’s Regulation

Scottish Rugby reserves the right to approve all matches and tournaments taking place within its jurisdiction. Under World Rugby rules special permission is also required for any tour match or tournament featuring teams from more than one Union. Clubs are also reminded that specific permission is required to play a match in Scotland during the summer break (“Close Time”) and for games against “scratch” teams.

These rules are further explained within our domestic regulation Scottish Domestic Regulation 16 Match Approvals and Permission to Tour. All those within the Scottish Rugby Union’s jurisdiction are required to comply with this Regulation.

  • SDR16: Match Approvals and Permission to Tour

    1. The Scottish Rugby Union (“Scottish Rugby”) acknowledges that it is obliged to comply with those Regulations Relating to the Game issued from time to time by World Rugby (WR).

    2. Scottish Rugby recognises that WR has issued a specific Regulation in respect of the Organisation of International Matches; International Tournaments; International Tours (WR Regulation 16). The Scottish Rugby Board (the “Board”) has adopted WR Regulation 16 within Scottish Rugby’s domestic regulations.

    3. The Domestic Regulation below relates to the approval of matches and permission to tour within Scottish Rugby’s area of jurisdiction. All those within Scottish Rugby’s jurisdiction are required to comply with this Regulation.

    Approval of Matches

    4. No rugby football match or tournament, including in relation to any WR recognised variation of the game, shall take place within Scotland without the approval of the Board. The Board shall have an absolute right to refuse permission in respect of any match or tournament.

    5. Unless otherwise revoked by the Board, approval is hereby granted in respect of any match which:

    5.1 Is subject to the National Competition Rules and the date and time of which has been determined and notified in accordance with those Rules; or

    5.2 Has been arranged between two or more member clubs during the playing season and does not conflict with a match within a National Competition approved under 5.1 above.

    6. For the avoidance of doubt no member club or affiliated school shall play a match:

    • in Close Time;
    • against a touring team in Scotland;
    • within the jurisdiction of another Union on tour; or
    • against a Scratch Team

    without the prior written permission of Scottish Rugby.

    Approval of Matches in Close Time

    7. No XV-a-side, ten-a-side or seven-a-side match or tournament shall take place within Scotland during Close Time without the prior written approval of the Board.

    8. The Board may consider applications for the approval of matches / tournaments during Close Time. In granting any such approval the Board shall be entitled to impose such conditions as it deems to be appropriate on a case by case basis.

    9. Where any such approval has been granted for three consecutive years, deemed approval may be assumed for the match or event to take place on the same terms, and on a similar date, in future years. The Board reserves the absolute right to revoke any such deemed approval without prior notice.

    10. For the avoidance of doubt the Board shall have the absolute right to refuse permission to play in Close Time.

    Approval of Overseas Tour

    11. No member club/affiliated school may arrange or fulfil a Tour outwith Scotland without:

    (a) Obtaining prior written approval from both the Board and from the Union(s) being visited;

    (b) Arranging such travel, medical and other insurance as may be appropriate (and demonstrating the same where requested by Scottish Rugby);

    (c) In the case of age-grade teams, ascertaining the age banding regulations and law variations applicable in the jurisdiction being visited and obtaining written confirmation from Scottish Rugby that participation under these regulations / laws is acceptable to the Board; and

    (d) Complying with any other conditions or requirements as the Board may require.

    12. For the avoidance of doubt the Board shall have the absolute right to refuse permission to Tour.

    Permission for Incoming Tours

    13. No member club/affiliated school may arrange or fulfil a match/tournament involving an incoming team without written evidence from the touring team’s Union that it has been granted permission to Tour, and ensuring that such permission has been countersigned by Scottish Rugby on behalf of the Board.

    14. It shall be a precondition of the Board granting permission for the tour that the host club / school has and, where requested by Scottish Rugby, is able to evidence that it has:

    (a) Ascertained that the visiting team has such personal accident, travel, health and other insurances as may be appropriate;

    (b) In the case of age-grade teams and players, it has provided the visiting team with a copy of Scottish Rugby age banding and age related law variations and has obtained the visiting team’s written agreement to abide by the same for the duration of their tour to Scotland; and

    (c) Complied with any conditions or requirements the Board may have set out in granting permission for the incoming Tour.

    15. For the avoidance of doubt the Board shall have the right to refuse permission to host any incoming Tour.

    Permission for Matches involving Scratch Teams

    16. For the purpose of this regulation a Scratch Team is one which is neither:

    (a) A team organised by and representing a club in membership of Scottish Rugby or of another WR recognised Union; or

    (b) Is a representative team of a Union recognised by WR.

    17. No member club/affiliated school may arrange or fulfil a match involving a Scratch Team without the prior written permission of the Board.

    18. It shall be a precondition of the Board granting permission for the match that:

    (a) The organisers of any Scratch Team participating in the match/tournament have arranged catastrophic injury insurance for its players on a basis acceptable to Scottish Rugby;

    (b) The organisers of the match and any Scratch Team agree to be bound by Scottish Rugby’s regulations; and

    (c) The organisers of the match and any Scratch Team agree to comply with any conditions or requirements the Board may set out in granting permission for the match.

    19. For the avoidance of doubt the Board shall have the right to refuse permission to host any match or tournament involving a Scratch Team.

    Disciplinary Matters

    20. It shall be an offence subject to potential disciplinary proceedings to participate or to encourage others to participate in:

    (a) An unauthorised match or tournament in Scotland, including during Close Time;

    (b) A Tour outwith Scotland for which permission has not been granted or, where granted, any condition attached to the approval has not been fulfilled;

    (c) Hosting a Tour to Scotland for which permission has not been granted or, where granted, any condition attached to the approval has not been fulfilled;

    (d) A match or tournament involving a Scratch Team for which permission has not been granted or, where granted, any condition attached to the approval has not been fulfilled; or

    (e) To make misleading or false statements in relation to any application to play in Close Time, any permission to go on Tour or to host an incoming Tour or any application in respect of a match or tournament involving a Scratch Team.

    21. Any disciplinary procedures arising under the Regulation shall be conducted in accordance with the Misconduct procedures set out within Scottish Rugby’s Rules for Disciplinary Procedures.

Further assistance in relation to Permission to Tour, obtaining our consent to hold a match during Close Time and for games involving scratch teams is available below.

Permission to Tour

WR Regulation 16 sets out the approval process in relation to international tours and tournaments. Scottish Rugby has adopted this WR Regulation into its domestic regulations.

Guidance as to how a club or affiliated school can obtain Permission to Tour or Permission to Host a Tour from another Union can be found below.

  • Permission to Tour: If you are planning to play outwith Scotland.

    If your club or school is planning to play rugby outside Scotland you will need to obtain permission to do so from both the Scottish Rugby and the Union you are visiting. The steps in this process are as follows:

    Tours involving players under the age of 18

    1. Ask the club / school you are visiting to provide details of any age related rules/law variations operating in their Union. For player welfare and insurance reasons we will only approve tours played under comparable age-banding conditions, game variations and Laws as are used in Scotland. If you wish to discuss our age banding policies/rules please contact Shona Stott: [email protected] or phone 0131 346 5155.

    As part of the approval process for any age grade tour please note that we will require written confirmation that any matches on tour will either be:-

    (i) Played under local variations which are acceptable to Scottish Rugby; or
    (ii) Will be played under Scottish AYRTPR rules.

    2. Discuss the proposed Tour with your club's Child Protection Officer (CPO) or person responsible in your school for safeguarding. In particular you will need to consider with them the contents of Scottish Rugby's safeguarding best practice guide on Overnight Trips and/or Travel Abroad.

    3. Obtain approval for the Tour from your club's Committee (this must be the club's senior decision making body and not just the mini or youth section committee). For School Tours please obtain permission from the school's Headmaster or Senior Management Team.

    4. Seek Scottish Rugby's approval for the Tour by completing and submitting a Tour Application Form. This form is available below:-

    Please note that we will not process a club application unless it has been signed off by both the club CPO and the Club Secretary or President. We will also not approve your application if we believe that the club does not have appropriate safeguarding procedures in place. School applications must be signed off by the person responsible for safeguarding and a member of the school's Senior Management Team.

    Tours by Adult Teams

    Please complete and return a copy of the Tour Application Form below to Scottish Rugby's Regulatory Department:-

    Next Steps ...

    On receipt of your application we will review it and, providing everything is in order, we will officially stamp it and electronically pass it to the other Union(s) for their own approval. We will also email the applicant a copy of the approved form and a covering letter (and for clubs we will copy in the Club Secretary). A copy of the correspondence should be retained for the club’s / school's own records and a hard copy should be provided to the Tour manager to take with them.

    Please note that at certain times of year we receive a considerable number of Tour approval and similar requests. Whilst we will do our best to process your application as quickly as possible, applicants are recommended to plan accordingly.

    Further Help

    If you can't find the information you're looking for, have a specific query or wish assistance with the processing of your Permission to Tour request please email [email protected] .

  • Permission to Host a Tour: If you plan to host a team from outwith Scotland.

    If your club or school is planning to play a visiting team from outwith Scotland:

    • The visiting team will need permission from its own Union to make the Tour; and
    • You will need to obtain Scottish Rugby’s permission to play them.

    The steps in this process are as follows:

    1. You should inform Scottish Rugby of the proposed incoming Tour by completing our Permission to Host a Tour Form.

    2. We require that any match played in Scotland is played under our own player welfare rules. Thus, for instance:

    (i) If it is an adult match, the touring team will not be able to field any under 18 players;

    (ii) If it is an age grade match, Scottish age-banding and other rules apply.

    3. We will expect you to advise the visiting club / school of the relevant Scottish rules and to ensure that your guests comply with these.

    4. We require you to make enquiries to ensure that your guest teams have arranged appropriate travel and medical insurance. You should be in a position to provide evidence to this effect if requested.

    5. The visiting team’s Union should provide us with a copy of its authorisation for the team to Tour. On receipt of this approval we will review it and, if everything is in order, we will officially stamp it to signify our own approval.

    6. We will then email a copy of the approved Form and a covering letter to the Secretary of your club.

    7. The Club Secretary should retain a copy of the correspondence for the club's records.

    Please note that at certain times of year we receive a considerable number of Tour approval and similar requests. Whilst we will do our best to process your application as quickly as possible, applicants are recommended to plan accordingly.

    Further Help

    If you can't find the information you're looking for, have a specific query or wish assistance with the processing of your Permission to Host a Tour request please email [email protected] .

Permission to play matches involving a Scratch Team

For regulatory and insurance purposes approval must be sought for matches involving “scratch” teams. A scratch team is one which neither belongs to a member club of a Union (such as the SRU) nor is a representative side of a Union. Often scratch teams are formed to play one off games e.g. charity matches. To apply for permission to hold a match involving a scratch team please use this form:

Application to play a match involving a Scratch Team

Frequently Asked Questions

To assist those looking for more information on match approvals and permission to tour we have prepared a summary of Frequently Asked Questions.

  • Who is covered by the Regulation?

    The Regulation covers clubs in membership of the Scottish Rugby Union, affiliated Scottish schools and visiting clubs/schools during their stay in Scotland.

  • Do we have to apply for approval for every fixture?

    No. Whilst Scottish Rugby reserves the right to approve any fixture, approval is only normally required where:

    1. The match involves clubs/teams from more than one Union (e.g. a Scottish club going on tour, a Scottish club hosting an incoming touring team or two incoming teams wishing to play a match in Scotland); or
    2. The planned match is during the Summer rugby break (known as “Close Time”); or
    3. The match involves a non-club team, such as those sometimes drawn together to mark a special occasion or for a charity match (“Scratch Teams”).
  • Tours FAQ's

    How do we apply for Permission to Tour? There is a standard form on our website. The form should be completed under the authority of your club committee.

    When should we apply? Clubs are advised to apply as early as possible, and at least four weeks before the departure date, as we will require to obtain the approval of the other Union(s).

    Do we need to apply if we are only visiting England, Wales or Ireland? Yes. Whilst there is an informal arrangement between the “Home Unions” that permission will be granted, approval is still required under the relevant WR Regulation.

    What are the consequences if we don’t apply? If you tour without permission your club may be subject to misconduct proceedings. The tour party will also not receive the benefit of the free travel extension available under the Club Accident Insurance Policy.

    We have an incoming touring team. What should we do about Tour Approval? You should let us know by using the form on our website and the visiting team should apply for permission to tour from its own Union. Your visitors’ Union will ask the SRU to approve the match against your club/school. We will send you a copy of the approval when granted.

  • Matches during the Summer break “Close Time” FAQ's

    Why is there a summer break from matches? This is a player welfare issue.

    Does this mean that my club needs permission to train in the summer? No. The ban is from playing matches. If you want to hold training / practice sessions then this is fine.

    Does the summer ban on matches involve all forms of the game? The summer break includes XV’s, tens and sevens - both adult and age-grade. It does not involve other forms of the game recognised by World Rugby (such as Touch, Tag and Beach rugby).

    How long does the summer break last? The exact dates each year are set out in the National Competition Rules.

    What are the consequences if we don’t apply? Your club may be subject to misconduct proceedings.

    Can we apply to play a match in Close Time? Yes, permission may be granted if there is a good reason why the game must be played in Close Time. Please use the application form on our website.

  • Matches against Scratch Teams FAQ's

    What is a “Scratch Team”? A Scratch Team is one which is not part of a SRU member club or a SRU Affiliated School, or for which permission has been granted for an incoming Tour or is a representative team of any Union in membership of World Rugby (WR). Scratch teams are often formed to play charity matches or in relation to special one-off events.

    Why is permission required for Scratch Matches? Under WR Regulations Scottish Rugby is obliged to be able to regulate all rugby union within our territory. We also need to make sure that all those playing the game are provided with appropriate catastrophic injury insurance cover.

    How do we apply for permission to play a Scratch Match? There is an application form on our website.

    What are the consequences if we don’t apply? Those involved in the match (including players, match officials and club administrators) may be subject to misconduct proceedings.

Contact details

Tour Approvals : If you can't find the information you're looking for, have a specific query or require assistance processing a Tour Approval please email your query to [email protected] .

Close Time and Scratch Matches: For queries about playing during the Summer break (Close Time) or Scratch Matches please contact Scottish Rugby's Head of Regulation, Graham Ireland, at [email protected]or 0131 346 5004.

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