Scottish Rugby Updates: COVID-19

Scottish Rugby has been providing regular updates to clubs, supporters, sponsors and partners during this period of uncertainty with COVID-19. This page consolidates all of Scottish Rugby's updates so far and will be updated with information as and when it becomes available.

Latest update from Scottish Rugby

  • Threat Management Group Update | 16 October

    Unfortunately the number in infections has continued to creep up across Scotland. Statistics from Thursday this week indicate 450 new cases in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 374 in Lanarkshire, 161 in Lothian and 111 in Ayrshire and Arran. The remaining cases are distributed across other mainland health board areas.

    Following the Scottish Government’s new restrictions last week, the average daily number of new cases in Scotland has risen from 788 to 1178, the number of people in hospital with Covid has increased from 262 to 601 and the number of people in intensive care has doubled from 25 to 51.

    Restrictions previously announced will stay in place within the hospitality and sports industries, with stricter rules imposed in five local health board areas most affected.

    Indoor hospitality should only be in operation between 6am and 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

    Similarly, contact sport for over-18s is suspended, with an exception for professional sport.

    The First Minister announced on Thursday that temporary restrictions are to be replaced with a more strategic approach when the current rules expire on Monday 26 October.

    This would include different tiers or levels of restrictions in place based on local and national approaches depending on how the virus is spreading

    For more information please follow this link

    These restrictions whilst tough for everyone are in the interests of protecting our progress as a sport overall. We remind everyone of the importance of adhering to these guidelines at this particularly challenging time.

    Our dialogue with government officials is on-going and it is worth noting that Scottish Rugby is in a slightly fortunate position in comparison to the Arts & Music industry for example in that our general operations can still continue, albeit at a much reduced level.

    Our positive approach and consistent mitigations were endorsed by the National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch in the press over the weekend, noting Scottish Rugby is leading the way within the industry and setting world-class standards.

    We continue to encourage everyone to follow the FACTS to support the Government and to control the virus.

    1. Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    2. Avoid crowded places
    3. Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    4. Two-metre distancing
    5. Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Work across our TMG sub groups continues, and we are indebted to the hard and smart work being delivered, please find updates below:

    Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools

    Following the FM’s announcement last week, this sub group have escalated their work around community rugby.

    The team have pre-recorded two webinars, with Scottish Rugby President Ian Barr as a guest. One webinar will be targeted to the five affected health board areas in the central belt under stricter restrictions, while the second webinar will be for the rest of Scotland. The webinars will be a follow up on the information circulated to clubs and schools last Friday.

    As the government looks to align some of their work within its route map, the team are preparing to rework Scottish Rugby’s route plan for relaunch at the end of October

    Return to Training

    Edinburgh had an away match against Munster last weekend, the team travelled there and back with no issues to report.

    The National Team are now in camp and settling in and adjusting well to the new protocols in place.

    Scotland Women continue their preparation camps and training as they navigate through these challenging times ahead of an important set of fixtures.

    Return to Events

    This sub group continues to work through the various logistical challenges that COVID-19 brings to the upcoming GUINNESS PRO14 and Autumn Nations Cup matches.

    With the Georgia team arriving next week, Scottish Rugby staff are supporting with the visiting team as Liaison Officers.

    As a result of the new restrictions we are planning for all of our October matches to be held behind closed doors and discussions continue with Scottish Government around a graduated return to spectators when it is appropriate to do so.

    Thank you for your continued support and we hope that you and your families are all well.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer and Dr. James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Threat Management Group Update | 9 October 2020

    The TMG met twice this week ahead of, and post, the Scottish Government’s updates on its measures to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

    As the virus continues to spread across Scotland, particularly in the central belt areas such as Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Forth Valley, Ayrshire and Arran; the First Minister on Wednesday announced short, targeted measures designed to help slow down transmission of the virus.

    As from today, pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to operate indoors only between 6am and 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks only.

    Contact sport for over-18s will be suspended for the next two weeks, with an exception for professional sport.

    Indoor group exercise activity will not be allowed; Gyms can remain open for individual exercise.

    These are nationwide restrictions with stricter rules imposed in the above five health board areas.

    Please do follow this link (links to infographics) to find out more about restrictions in your local areas.

    We continue to encourage everyone to follow the FACTS to support the Government and to control the virus.

    1. Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    2. Avoid crowded places
    3. Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    4. Two-metre distancing
    5. Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Scottish Rugby had regular meetings and dialogue with government officials this week to discuss various issues as we continue to proactively engage with them and shape our plans as a sport. The Government are under no illusion of how challenging the current restrictions are on rugby at all levels in Scotland. We have made the case to Govt that we must continue to work closely together as we have done over the last nine months to ensure the sport at every level, and in every part of the country, is supported and protected. Our dialogue with Govt will continue next week.

    Work across our TMG subgroups continues, and we are indebted to the hard and smart work being delivered and debated, please find updates below:

    Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools

    Following the First Minister’s briefing this week, which included adult contact sport being halted in five central belt health board areas, Scottish Rugby’s Clubs & Schools Route Map will be amended for the period 9-25 October.

    The five affected health board areas in the central belt with stricter restrictions (Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran) will revert to Stage 2 of the Scottish Rugby Return to Rugby Route Map. Adult rugby will remain at Stage 4 for the rest of the clubs in the remainder of the country.

    Players across the country are being advised not to travel for training across different health boards.

    Please click the link here for full details of today’s decision by the Scottish Rugby Board to support Scottish Rugby Council’s recommendation to delay the return to competitive rugby until January 2021 at the earliest.

    Return to Training

    Edinburgh played at home last weekend and operationally all went according to plan. The TMG subgroup will share some learnings from Edinburgh’s match for Glasgow’s home match against Scarlets this Sunday. The team at Scotstoun are working closely with Glasgow Life for this weekend’s Warriors match. The professionalism and preparedness of the Glasgow Warriors operations team in planning the event is, as ever, of a very high standard and will serve us well for the weeks ahead. Glasgow travelled to and from Connaught for their match last weekend without issue. As always learnings will be shared across the Group.

    With the National Team in camp next week, briefings are in hand, including Health & Safety and Medical having been signed off. Health & Safety will be across all sites; Scotstoun, Oriam & BT Murrayfield.

    Return to Events

    Discussions have continued around upcoming travel for all our teams and including visiting teams. Anyone travelling for the matches who sits outside the official bubble will need to quarantine for 14 days if coming into Scotland.

    Thank you for your continued support and we hope that you and your families are all well.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer and Dr. James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Threat Management Group Update | 2 October

    After a sharp rise in cases in Scotland over this last week the First Minister confirmed yesterday that the route-map changes planned for the 5th October are being postponed, with restrictions to be reviewed again on the 15th October.

    As of yesterday, a further 668 people tested positive for COVID-19, 10.8% of those were newly tested. There were 3 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, and the R number is now believed to be as high as 1.7.

    Although there have been no changes to the current restrictions it is clear the Scottish Government are considering all options in order to get the virus back under control.

    We are continuing to be proactive in engaging the government at all levels and had several meetings with government officials this week. On a positive note the government recognises Scottish Rugby’s wider societal benefits – the hope and distraction from the virus our sport provides – but more significantly, the importance of our community game across Scotland.

    We will continue to work closely with the government and monitor the impact recent decisions have had on our gradual return to rugby phases.

    We would like to once again urge you all to follow the rules FACTS in support of the government’s attempt to control the virus.

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    As we move into a busy period ahead, the workload of the TMG’s sub-groups continues to increase exponentially. They have worked extremely hard and can report the following updates:

    Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools

    After securing government clarification, this group have continued progressing on our six-stage Return to Rugby route map for the domestic game as planned. The group remain committed to regularly updating clubs and Council to ensure we are all aligned during this uncertain period. For the latest on Scottish Rugby's Return to Rugby route map, please visit www.scottishrugby.org/clubs-and-schools/return-to-rugby

    Return to Training

    The various workstreams of this group have been busy working collectively to overcome various challenges arising from a demanding season of back-to-back PRO14 and international fixtures. The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season begins this weekend with Edinburgh to open against Ospreys at home and Glasgow Warriors to meet Connacht away. A large amount of meticulous planning has gone into preparing for this weekend’s activities and a follow up review will take place to share learnings and experiences to further develop our planning processes and continue progressing as we enter the busy season ahead.

    Return to Events

    This sub-group have continued to develop operational plans for behind closed doors games and have created comprehensive risk assessments for all Edinburgh, Glasgow and international games throughout the season ahead. They have also been preparing the visiting team’s travel, accommodation, training facilities and quarantining protocols for the upcoming Autumn Nations Cup, and are continuing to develop our graduated crowds proposals to ensure we are ready for when crowd approval is eventually granted.

    We hope to give you further detailed updates next week, and until then, we wish you and your families all the best in these uncertain times.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer and Dr. James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Return to Rugby Update | 2 October

    The First Minister's statement of 1 October has further delayed the Scottish Government’s Phase 4 of easing the Covid-19 restrictions to 15 October at the earliest.

    In line with this, and following discussions with government, Scottish Rugby is delaying the implementation of return to rugby Stage 5 for the community game and FOSROC Super6 across Scotland. The safety of those involved in the rugby community is our priority at this time and therefore all rugby will remain at the current stage (Stage 4) until 15 October at the earliest.

    Scottish Rugby is very conscious that Government restrictions have been increased in some parts of Scotland as the incidence of coronavirus has risen, and we recognise the impact on the NHS, medical staff and key workers across the country. Therefore Scottish Rugby’s Council will meet on Monday 5 October, to review the current Return to Rugby roadmap for the community game.

Scottish Rugby Updates in September 2020

  • Threat Management Group Update | Friday 25 September

    This week has seen several significant Government announcements, with both the UK and Scottish Government tightening restrictions to suppress the escalating transmission rate of the coronavirus.

    In the last 24 hours in Scotland, there have been 558 new positive cases recorded, which accounts for 9.5% of those newly tested, 89 patients in hospital, and 11 in intensive care. Though the most alarming figure is the R number – which could be as high as 1.6 – hence the tightening restrictions.

    The First Minister’s statement on Tuesday outlined the new rules including additional national household visiting restrictions and a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Though critical for Scottish Rugby is the Scottish Government’s decision to halt pilot events and delay the indicative date for the return of spectators to stadia and outdoor sport, originally pencilled in for the 5th October. We have asked the Sports Minister to confirm that this means the Scottish Government will not allow spectators at BT Murrayfield for any of the PRO14 or international matches during October. Though we are continuing to develop our graduated crowd proposals and progress negotiations with the Government and relevant local authorities to ensure we are ready when crowd approval is eventually granted.

    For more detailed information on the new restrictions, please see the Scottish Government webpage here.

    The UK Government’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak also set out plans yesterday to help workers and businesses hit by the new coronavirus restrictions. This announcement included a new job support scheme, which will run for 6 months from 1 November 2020 and replaces the Job Retention Scheme which is due to cease at the end of next month. We are assessing these measures and their impact for rugby as we continue to work extremely hard to navigate our whole organisation and wider rugby community through this pandemic.

    Fundamentally, we understand that by acting early and substantially, the Scottish Government can hope to suppress the spread of the virus. Therefore, we would like to again direct you to the public health campaign FACTS and reiterate the immense importance of following these essential rules in place.

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Additionally, in our continued effort to support the Scottish Government in containing the virus, we would like to urge you all to download the free Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect, details can be found by clicking the link here.

    The TMG’s respective sub-groups have continued to work extremely hard to resume rugby and can report the following updates:

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools group has been in direct liaison with the Scottish Government who today confirmed that Scottish Rugby’s Return to Rugby routemap for the domestic game can continue as planned. The next Scottish Government review of the COVID-19 restrictions will be announced by government on 1 October. We will keep our clubs updated with any further developments.

    The Return to Training group has been reviewing the various operations that took place over the last weekend. Operationally, Edinburgh’s trip to Bordeaux went smoothly and the Women’s training camp at Oriam was successful. The various work-streams have since met to share insights and learnings in order to further refine and develop our planning processes as we move forward with the return to rugby. Additionally, the Super6 clubs brought their players off furlough this week and the team have been on hand to offer guidance and share protocols with the clubs and help them through this process.

    Finally, the Return to Events team have continued developing plans for both behind closed doors matches and graduated crowd plans for BT Murrayfield and Scotstoun stadium, and are awaiting further clarification from the Government on potential crowds.

    We must learn from last week’s internal breach of general social restrictions and Scottish Rugby agreed protocols and remember to act safely and responsibly to avoid any further transgressions. The progression of our graduated crowd plans and any hope of spectators returning to BT Murrayfield relies upon all of us at Scottish Rugby strictly adhering to the guidelines.

    We hope to give further updates next week following various meetings with the Government, and until then we urge you all to continue abiding by the rules and remember, complacency is the enemy of success.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer and Dr. James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Threat Management Group Update | Friday 18 September

    Unfortunately, the COVID-19 situation in Scotland has worsened over the last week. The escalating number of positive coronavirus cases arising across the country cannot be understated.

    Now, more than ever, it is imperative we remain cautious and remember, complacency is the enemy of progress.

    There have been 203 new positive cases recorded within Scotland in the last 24 hours, 69 in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and 30 in Lothian. Although the number of reported deaths recorded as a result of COVID-19 remains low, the need to report deaths will become an increasingly regular feature in the First Minister’s briefings in the weeks ahead.

    Regrettably, further to our regular weekly testing of our players and relevant staff we have identified a positive case this week of an Academy player at Edinburgh Rugby. The medical team at ER have been following all our Threat Management Group agreed protocols to manage the individual and any potential contacts he may have had, and have been working hand in glove with the Scottish Government and Public Health professionals. Thankfully, the team have new arrived in France and are deemed by the Scottish Government and external health professionals to be unaffected by this isolated case. For more detail, please see the Edinburgh Rugby COVID-19 update here: edinburghrugby.org/the-clubhouse/edinburgh-rugby-statement

    Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch commented on this news in today’s First Minister’s briefing and his full statement is below:

    Professor Leitch said: “I can confirm that an Edinburgh Rugby academy player has tested positive for COVID. The young man in question is one of four academy players who attended a house party last Friday. In doing so they breached the general restrictions on social gatherings and also the protocols that were agreed between Scottish Rugby and the Scottish Government.

    “This is clearly unacceptable and I am personally disappointed that after all the hard work that has gone into the return of elite sport with the rugby authorities that this has happened. All four players are now self-isolating and their contacts, including those at the gathering, are being contact traced. The Health Protection team in NHS Lothian has examined the implications for the rest of the Edinburgh squad – in particular the first team players who are due to play in France at the weekend. In doing so they have examined training footage and GPS data and the safety measures that were in place. Based on that, they have advised it is safe for the squad to travel to France and for the match to go ahead.

    “This is a hugely disappointing incident for us and for rugby. Rugby like other performance sports has been given the go ahead on the strict condition that clubs and players abide by the guidance that has been agreed. That is a message we have re-emphasised very strongly to the relevant parties yesterday and today. I spoke yesterday and this morning to the leaders at Scottish Rugby and they are taking this incident very seriously. I have asked them to check and re-check their protocols and procedures and report back to me a week today.

    “Incidents like this and the ones we have seen previously with other sports underline a really key point which the First Minister covered in the round for the rest of the population. Anytime one of us fails to abide by the rules, we put others at risk and we give the chance to spread and create consequences that are totally out-with our control "

    This has been a stark reminder to us all that we all have the duty to act safely and responsibly in order to support the entire business and wider community.

    As the numbers continue to steadily rise it is essential we all continue adhering to the public health rules FACTS, limit interactions as much as possible, and respect social distancing in order to support the Scottish Government in stemming community transmission.

    1. Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    2. Avoid crowded places
    3. Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    4. Two-metre distancing
    5. Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    I would once again like to encourage you to download the free Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect. This app has been designed to help us protect each other, reduce the spread of the virus, and avoid further lockdowns. For more details please see the link here: protect.scot.

    The TMG’s respective sub-groups have, as ever, been working hard on progressing the resumption of our sport and can report the following updates:

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools group has been occupied hosting several webinars further clarifying the Stage 4 guidance released last Thursday, and this week published the fixtures for each tier of the Scottish game as the sport makes steady progress to resume, adopting a regional competition model to help mitigate against the challenges of local lockdowns for COVID-19 outbreaks, and also reduce the need and distances travelled to matches for teams. An indicative start date of 31st October is being worked towards as part of Stage 6 of the Return to Rugby Roadmap for the first round of the new regional competitions. For further information on these fixtures, please see the link here: scottishrugby.org/news/2020/21-new-season-fixtures, and for any queries please contact [email protected].

    This week the Return to Training group has been predominantly focused on preparing for Edinburgh Rugby’s travel to France for their EPCR Quarter-Final game against Bordeaux Bègles tomorrow, Saturday 19th September. This group have also been busy finalising plans for the Women’s team training camp this weekend, and planning for Mike Adamson to referee the European Challenge Cup quarter-final between the Leicester Tigers and Castres Olympique on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, the Return to Events team has been working on plans to re-introduce graduated crowds into the stadium now we have confirmed Autumn Nations Cup fixtures. Following a positive meeting with Government officials on Wednesday, we hope to soon secure guidance on the potential scope for graduated crowds in due course to aid planning and preparations for our upcoming international fixtures.

    As always, the TMG and its various work-streams have dedicated their efforts to supporting our organisation through the challenges this pandemic has presented us and it is vital we all do our part to support these efforts.

    Adherence to the public health guidance is fundamental to the success of Scottish rugby operations. We can only continue to progress as long as we avoid complacency, stay safe, and support each other.

    I hope to give you further detailed updates next week, but until then, wishing you and your families all the best in these uncertain times.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer

  • Return to Rugby Stage 4 (Clubs & Schools) - 11 September

    Scottish Rugby can confirm that the club and school game can move from Return to Rugby Stage 3 to Stage 4 of the Scottish Rugby Return to Rugby Roadmap as of 14 September 2020. This step has been approved by the Scottish Government.

    Full story

  • Threat Management Group Update - 11 September

    The TMG continues to review all aspects of the challenge facing us as Scottish Rugby and sport in general. We are extremely grateful to everyone involved in the TMG and the Sub Groups for all their ongoing hard work to date.

    We continue to monitor the Government’s guidelines. In Thursday’s briefing the First Minister confirmed that there will be no movement into the Scottish Government’s Phase 4 of lockdown easing as the virus is still a significant threat to public health. Of cases reported on Thursday 65 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 46 in Lanarkshire, 12 in Lothian and 8 in Ayrshire & Arran with the remaining 30 spread across eight different health boards.

    Several changes provisionally scheduled for 14 September have been paused by the Government for a further three weeks. This means spectators will not be able to return to sports stadia and other venues over the next three weeks except those by prior agreement. The new indicative date is Monday 5 October at the earliest.

    The public are all being encouraged to download the free Protect Scotland app from NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect which has been designed to help us protect each other, reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid further lockdowns. Follow the link below for more details on the app: https://protect.scot/

    Following the First Minister’s briefing, The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools is able to announce Phase 4 of Rugby Development’s road map in line with government guidelines as outlined in this Club Comms edition.

    The Return to Training group have confirmed the Scotland Women’s squad members are now at three training camps, BT Murrayfield & Scotstoun with an addition of ASV in Aberdeen.

    The Return to Events will now start planning ahead for the newly created Autumn Nations Cup tournament which was announced yesterday. The tournament will replace the traditional Autumn international window for 2020. Follow this link for more details.

    With provisionally scheduled changes paused, we are encouraging everyone not to be complacent. Please continue to follow the rules of the public health campaign.

    FACTS:

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Please refer to this link for detailed information on Covid-19 for clubs and supporters.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Season structures for 2020/21 club competitions

    The return to rugby competition structures in Scotland for season 2020/21 are now confirmed following a series of consultations undertaken by the Scottish Rugby Council, with clubs and schools across the country.

    Read the full story

  • Threat Management Group Update - 4 September 2020

    We can report a positive delivery of the country’s first ‘pilot event’ at BT Murrayfield last weekend. Initial feedback from the National Clinical Director Prof. Jason Leitch post the event was brilliant and feedback from questionnaires distributed to spectators who attended was encouraging with 100% of supporters reporting they felt safe to return.

    It was a vital first step to have live sport with crowds resuming and gives us confidence we might be able to host crowds for the forthcoming autumn test matches.

    This is especially important for the wider rugby community as ticketing revenue is an essential source of income for Scottish Rugby and we will continue to work closely with Government and the events industry to drive this possibility forward.

    With lockdown measures currently easing, we are seeing a resurgence in Covid numbers with over 150 new cases each day with the majority in the Greater Glasgow area. As a result ,the government have new guidance in place in West Dunbartonshire, the City of Glasgow and East Renfrewshire areas. Evidence suggests that outbreaks in the west of Scotland are happening mainly between people’s homes, therefore, if you live in one of these areas, you should not host other people in your home or visit other people’s. The guidelines are in place for two weeks, though will be reviewed in one.

    Our various TMG subgroups have continued with their work streams;

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools group are finalising additional documents for the clubs on what the new season structure will look like post pandemic.

    The Return to Training group can now report that Scotland Women are now back training at BT Murrayfield & Scotstoun. We are awaiting confirmation on third training venue in Aberdeen. Gemma Fay and her team have done fantastic work in the background to get the players back ahead of their own matches in the Autumn.

    The Return to Events subgroup have been finalising preparations for tomorrow’s semi-final between Edinburgh and Ulster at BT Murrayfield. The match will be played behind closed doors and access to the stadium will be strictly limited in order to minimise risk as much as possible.

    The current guidelines in west Scotland are a reminder to all of us not to be complacent. The virus is still active within the community and hence everyone has to remain cautious and follow the rules of the public health campaign.

    FACTS:

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

Scottish Rugby Updates in August 2020

  • ​Threat Management Group Update - 28 August 2020

    Last Saturday we saw the return of rugby in Scotland after nearly six months, as we hosted the Guinness PRO14 match with Glasgow Warriors v Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield Stadium.

    A huge thank you to everyone that made this event possible especially the Threat Management Group. Operationally, the event was a success. This was echoed by government representatives at the match who were complementary of our efforts.

    We were subsequently delighted to receive confirmation to host our pilot event with circa 700 spectators; for tonight’s PRO14 match, Edinburgh vs Glasgow.

    This pilot has been made possible through our on-going dialogue with Scottish Government, at all levels. We submitted a detailed and carefully considered proposal which gave them the confidence Scottish Rugby could host this unique match and the subsequent national responsibilities which come with it, not just for sport, but the wider event industry which contributes so much to the wider economy.

    Some of you may have the opportunity to attend the match tonight; We would welcome your feedback post the event and hope you enjoy the match, which will be different from any others we have hosted here at BT Murrayfield.

    You can find out more information on what to expect when you are in the stadium today, please watch our matchday video here

    This week our various TMG subgroups have continued with their work streams;

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools team have been busy preparing guidance for clubs following the Scottish Government’s announcement to reopen gyms in Scotland, and are continuing to host weekly webinars to discuss various topics directly with clubs in more detail.

    With indoor training spaces due to re-open following government guidelines, The Return to Training group have been working on further developing the Women’s and Academy players returning to their training camps in September.

    The Return to Events subgroup have been finalising preparations for today’s match with spectators.

    Please refer to https://www.scottishrugby.org/scottish-rugby-updates for detailed information on Covid for clubs and supporters.

    We continue to monitor the First Minister’s daily briefings and as of yesterday, the provisional information suggested that 15 of the 68 new cases in Tayside, 21 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 8 are in Lanarkshire and 9 in Grampian. The current modelling suggests the R number is somewhere between 0.8 and 1.2.

    As of yesterday, 166 positive cases had been linked to the Two Sisters processing plant outbreak and there was an increase of 10 positive cases from Wednesday. In total, 34 cases had been identified as part of the Kingspark School cluster in Dundee. Of the 34 cases, 21 are staff members, 10 are contacts and 3 are pupils at the school, all from within the same class.

    For this reason, it is imperative we remember not to be complacent we must continue following the rules of the Scottish Government’s public health campaign, FACTS:

    1. Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    2. Avoid crowded places
    3. Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    4. Two-metre distancing
    5. Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    As always, huge thanks to everyone in clubs across the country for your continued engagement and support, and everyone who has been committed to following the rules and have acted extremely responsibly and respectfully throughout their training programmes over recent weeks.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • ​BT Murrayfield to welcome back fans - 21 August

    Scottish Rugby has been given the greenlight to host fans at the Edinburgh vs Glasgow Warriors match at BT Murrayfield on 28 August.

    Scottish Government has supported Scottish Rugby’s plans which will make the game the first professional rugby match in the UK to welcome spectators since the Covid-19 lockdown in March.

    Scottish Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer, Dominic McKay said: “Scottish Rugby is delighted that a limited number of spectators will be in BT Murrayfield on Friday 28th August to watch the Guinness PRO14 match between Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors.

    "We are pleased our work with the Scottish Government will ensure that players, support staff and fans will be covered by a comprehensive event plan for everyone’s safety including physical distancing requirements.

    "Scottish Rugby would like to thank Government Ministers and officials who have helped us make this happen, and our own colleagues who pulled together a robust operational plan for the match.

    "We hope that our experience and learnings from a live spectator event next Friday can help all of Scottish sport, and the wider events industry restart.”

    The fixture is designated as an Edinburgh Rugby home match and ticketing information will be issued by the club early next week.

  • ​Threat Management Group Update - 21 August

    This is a hugely important week for us as we finally see the return of professional rugby in Scotland. After nearly six months, the Guinness PRO14 tournament returns with Glasgow Warriors facing Edinburgh this Saturday 22 August at BT Murrayfield, kick off at 5.15pm.

    As we build up to this much anticipated matchday, it is important we take the time to reflect on our incredible progress over these last few months. This match going ahead is a huge testament to our team’s exceptional hard work and professionalism.

    All those involved in the TMG and its various subgroups have worked tirelessly in preparation for our first behind closed doors match, I would especially like to thank Claire Harkness, Dr James Robson and Derry Morrice for their outstanding work which has made this game on Saturday possible. They have considered all aspects of a matchday from start to finish and have: conducted thorough risk assessments, completed extensive health & safety training and documentation, strategically planned for various scenarios, liaised with the relevant local authorities, and successfully secured the Scottish Government’s approval, and most importantly, their confidence in Scottish Rugby.

    Fundamentally, this Saturday is an opportunity for us to physically demonstrate our professional capabilities to the Scottish Government. We had a productive meeting with the Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Joe FitzPatrick on Monday and we are currently at a critical stage in our negotiations for our proposed pilot event next Friday 28 August. A successful behind closed doors event would certainly validate our competence and hopefully assure the Scottish Government we can safely and responsibly execute a socially distanced match at BT Murrayfield.

    It is also your support that has enabled us to get Scottish Rugby in the position we are in today, ready and able to restart rugby in Scotland. Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone, both working and furloughed, for their continued support of the business, and extend a special note of thanks to our players who have been committed to following the rules and have acted extremely responsibly and respectfully throughout their training programme.

    Nevertheless, now more than ever, it is imperative we remember complacency is the enemy of success and we must continue to strive for perfection and keep following the rules of the Scottish Government’s public health campaign, FACTS:

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    Avoid crowded places
    Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    Two-metre distancing
    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    As always, we have been closely monitoring the First Minister’s daily briefings and national statistics. The situation in Scotland still remains very fragile, as evident with the numerous clusters breaking out across the country. Therefore, it is essential we continue abiding by the rules and do everything in our power to protect our people, our sport and our organisation.

    The Return to Events subgroup have been predominantly occupied finalising preparations for Saturday’s behind closed doors game. They have implemented stringent protocols including social distancing measures, the mandatory wearing of face coverings, clear signage, temperature check points, and have installed hand sanitisers stations around the stadium. They have developed a new accreditation system consistent with SGSA guidance and have worked closely with the marketing and graphics teams to produce clear and concise procedure videos and infographics to ensure all present at the stadium fully understand the protocols in place.

    Meanwhile, the Return to Training group have been working on further developing the Women’s training programmes and training bases and are looking ahead to training camps beginning in mid-September.

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools team have been busy preparing guidance for clubs as the Scottish Government announce a reopening of gyms in Scotland, and are continuing to host weekly webinars to discuss various topics directly with clubs in more detail. Tomorrow, Rugby Development will host a webinar to further clarify announcements made by the Scottish Government today affecting clubs & schools.

    As always the subgroups have been working extremely hard in order to navigate our organisation through these challenging times. It is incredible to see how far we have come since the beginning of lockdown, and this Saturday marks the beginning of a new chapter for us.

    We look forward to continuing to progress and returning rugby to normal in Scotland, and we hope to provide further detailed updates next week.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer

  • Return to Rugby (Clubs & Schools) Update | 24 August

    Scottish Rugby welcomes the Scottish Governments announcement today (Thursday 20 August) that adult contact sport can return as of 24 August.

    In conjunction with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Rugby Threat Management Group has agreed a roadmap for the return of contact rugby for all age groups, with the next step being the return to modified touch rugby for adults on the 24 August. Mini & Youth players have been able to participate in modified touch rugby activities since 13 July.

    The updated Return to Rugby guidance for clubs and schools can be found here. A webinar was held on 21 August at 11:30am and is now available below.

    As per the Scottish Government route map, Scottish Rugby are also pleased to announce an indicative date of 31 August for gyms to reopen and for indoor physical activity to resume. Further guidance on this will be communicated next week.


  • ​Threat Management Group Update - 14 August

    It was a pleasure to host Scotland’s National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch, on this week’s Official Scottish Rugby Podcast. His willingness to speak publicly on our online platform is certainly a positive example of our excellent working relationship with the Scottish Government. We had a positive discussion around the current COVID-19 situation in Scotland, plans for the season ahead, the Women’s game and the upcoming new Autumn Test campaign. Professor Leitch was very complimentary of our work to date and extremely appreciative of Scottish Rugby’s support of the Scottish Government. Please listen to the full episode, which can be found by clicking on the link here.

    Now, more than ever, it is vital we strive for perfection and continue demonstrating to the Government that we are a responsible leading sports governing body and can operate safely and dependably. We must treat this yellow-card moment for Scottish Football as a harsh reminder to continue abiding by the rules, lead by example, and remember complacency is the enemy of success.

    The Scottish Government have publicly stated that there is no margin for error, and any further breaches of procedures within sport will not be tolerated. Therefore, we would like to once again take this opportunity to urge everyone to continue adhering to the rules of the Scottish Government’s public health campaign guidance, FACTS:

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Whilst monitoring the daily and weekly coronavirus figures we have recently seen a concerning increase in the number of positive cases arising across the country. Although the numbers appear to be relatively localised, with Grampian and Greater Glasgow the main hub areas, there has also been a worryingly rapid spread within Orkney. This demonstrates just how important it is we recognise the virus is still out there and reminds us to stay alert.

    Meanwhile, the Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools subgroup have been occupied with various responsibilities: considering the format of the next domestic season, hosting informative webinars for clubs to further clarify Government updates and future plans, finalising the second round of the Club Hardship Fund to financially support clubhouses’ reopening, and preparing local lockdown procedures in order to support clubs in lockdown areas such as Aberdeen. The team have also confirmed all clubs now have COVID-19 safety officers appointed and we are delighted to see over 5,000 club players and volunteers have now completed the COVID-19 online e-learning course, many thanks to all the clubs for your helpful cooperation.

    Our Return to Training subgroup have been busy finalising plans for the Women’s return to training; with players based around Edinburgh and Glasgow now beginning training at Oriam, and players based up north to hopefully start training at Aberdeen Sports Village next week, local situation dependent.

    The Return to Events team have also been working hard developing our behind closed doors plan for 22ndAugust and pilot event plan for Friday 28th August. They have been working closely with the local authorities and have met with senior transport providers to ensure all parties are in a ready state ahead of the game. The team have also been preparing for the Macron store reopening today, Friday 14th August, and have implemented additional protocols to ensure BT Murrayfield remains a strictly controlled environment.

    As always, the TMG and its subgroups continue to work tirelessly to recover normal rugby service as soon as practical and your adherence to the rules is essential in order to support the TMG in this effort.

    We all have the responsibility to act as role models and we are at a pivotal point in which we need to prove our dependability to the Scottish Government, and the wider society.

    So thank you again for your continued patience and ongoing support, and may we continue to progress and lead by example.

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

  • Threat Management Group Update - 7 August

    Please see below the weekly update from the TMG

    Regrettably, over the past week there have been a number of clusters of positive coronavirus cases breaking out across the country. These have been a stark reminder to us all that the virus is still out there and the current situation in Scotland remains very fragile.

    In light of the recent significant outbreak at the Hawthorn bar in Aberdeen and its increasing number of reported positive cases, the Scottish Government announced a reintroduction of lockdown restrictions in Aberdeen on Wednesday. These restrictions are expected to last at least 7 days and include a reintroduction of the 5 mile travel limit and the closure of all indoor and outdoor hospitality.

    Not only does this incident prove how extremely infectious and dangerous the virus still is, but most importantly it demonstrates how complacency is the enemy of progress.

    The FM described the situation in Aberdeen as the “the biggest wake-up call”, urging us all to learn from this lesson and follow the rules in order to effectively aid the Government’s containment of the virus.

    Particularly as we move closer to the much anticipated PRO14 resumption date, it is imperative we follow the public health guidelines, avoid complacency and remain vigilant to the ever present risks.

    It was great to see Glasgow Warriors players and catch up with the operational staff this week on my visit to Scotstoun. It was pleasing to see everyone strictly following the protocols in place and obeying government advice. It was fantastic to be back in the stadium after such a long time and see all the TMG’s hard work in practice, a special thanks to all those involved in preparing Scotstoun as a safe second training venue, and may we continue to operate safely and responsibly to further progress.

    Once again we would like to take this opportunity to urge everyone to continue following the rules of the Scottish Government’s public health campaign FACTS:

    • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    • Avoid crowded places
    • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    • Two-metre distancing
    • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    We continue to monitor the daily and weekly coronavirus figures from the UK and Scottish Government’s closely. Although we are now in our 20th consecutive day of no deaths as a result of a positive COVID-19 test result in Scotland, we are becoming increasingly conscious of the rising 7-day rolling average figures of positive cases within Scotland and across the whole of the UK. In the last couple of weeks we have seen the percentage of positive cases arising from testing in Scotland increase from 0.2% to 1.3%. Although fluctuations in the numbers is to be expected it is important we treat this upsurge as a reminder to strictly follow the public health guidelines in place.

    The work of the subgroups has continued to progress as we move closer to the targeted PRO14 and ECPR resumption dates, and the recent announcements of the rescheduled 2020 6N fixtures and the new autumn test campaign have further pushed the subgroups to develop longer-term plans with definitive goals in sight.

    The Return to Events group have continued to concentrate on finalising plans for behind closed doors events and are in a ready state for the PRO14 1872 Cup Edinburgh v Glasgow game on the Saturday 22ndAugust. The team also remain in consistent dialogue with the Government in order to further explore our pilot event plans and agree a proposed date to put these plans into practice.

    Meanwhile, the Return to Training group have been predominately focused on restarting the Women’s team training. Gemma Fay, Andy Boyd and Allan Macdonald have worked hard to complete all necessary documentation and risk assessments to re-start training within the next couple of weeks to allow the women’s team sufficient training time before their rescheduled 6N fixtures in October.

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools have also been busy developing new and existing initiatives to support clubs financially and logistically, and have continued to provide regular guidance to help Clubs in preparation of opening their facilities. The second stage of the Club Hardship Fund closes this weekend for applications and aims to provide funding for clubhouse safety checks prior to reopening, there has been a decent take up already, with a late rush expected from clubs in the coming days. Communication is also being shared with Clubs to remind them of the Phase 3 guidelines and also around encouraging the hosting of online AGM’s as opposed to indoor meetings, in line with Government guidance. The team are also looking at longer-term planning and continuing to work closely with the Government to map out a gradual and modified return to contact training within clubs and schools.

    As always, we remain in constant communication with the Scottish Government. We are engaged in daily correspondence to ensure all our plans are fully aligned with their timelines and public health requirements and we have a meeting scheduled for next week with Joe FitzPatrick, Minister of Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing to further discuss our pilot event plans. However, whilst we wish to resume normal service as soon as practical we are first and foremost dedicated to protecting the safety of our people, and our society, and will continue to support the Government in this effort.

    As a leading sports governing body we have the fundamental responsibility to lead by example. We all have the responsibility to protect ourselves and others, hence it is essential we all continue to adhere to the rules in order to help the Scottish Government suppress this virus and restart our society as soon as practical.

    Thank you again for your continued patience and support of the organisation, and we hope to give more detailed updates next week.

    Best wishes,

    Dominic McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

Scottish Rugby Updates in July 2020

  • Threat Management Group Update - 31 July

    Please see below the weekly update from the TMG

    It’s been another busy week across Scottish Rugby for everyone, for my own part I was particularly pleased to spend some time in BT Murrayfield this week catching up – socially distanced of course – with colleagues who are working at BT Murrayfield. It also gave me an opportunity to check in on progress in respect of our new stadium build for Edinburgh Rugby. It was so exciting to see the progress that has been made since even my last visit a few weeks ago. The team at Edinburgh Rugby will be sharing some more imagery shortly and I am sure you will be impressed with the speed of progress.

    Yesterday afternoon the Government announced that there will be no movement into Phase 4 as the virus is still a significant threat to public health, with minimal changes over the next 3 weeks as a result of this.

    The advice has changed for those who test positive for Covid, are now advised to isolate for 10 days instead of 7. Contacts of those who test positive should continue to isolate for 14 days – and quarantine for people who have been travelling from non-exempt countries remains 14 days.

    The Government confirmed that schools will return from 11 August with all pupils expected at school full-time from 18 August at the latest, further guidance will be published later.

    Some very helpful statements made by The First Minister from our perspective following our ongoing discussions with the Scottish Govt included;

    The Government announced that from Monday 14 September, it is hoped that sports stadia will be able to reopen from that day for a limited number of spectators, with physical distancing in place.

    Some professional sports events may be arranged for spectators before then – with Scottish Government agreement – to test the safety of any new arrangements..

    Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools - We have also had some very welcome news in respect of the grassroots game and are offering further guidance to clubs with regard to a potential phased return in line with the Government’s revised route map.

    Please find the Return to Rugby Player Guidance | Community Rugby Stage 3 video link here.

    Our Return to Events team have continued to work and plan for the various matches scheduled for the coming months. The team are in a good place with Health & Safety and operations in readiness for the Behind Closed Doors matches between Edinburgh & Glasgow.

    Our Return to Training group have worked hard to get both teams back up and training in the last few weeks. Glasgow Warriors players are now back at their home training facility at Scotstoun having made the final transition on Monday this week. Edinburgh players continue their training at BT Murrayfield. Both Pro teams have been up for media this week. The good progress made this week is another further positive step in the return to rugby and is welcomed by both teams.

    Finally, statistics indicate that COVID has been suppressed to a low level in Scotland, though it is important to remember the virus is not yet completely eliminated within the community and hence everyone has to remain cautious and follow the rules of the public health campaign,

    FACTS:

    Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    Avoid crowded places

    Clean hands and surfaces regularly

    Two-metre distancing

    Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

  • Threat Management Group Update - 24 July

    Please see below the weekly update from the TMG

    Return to Events - the team have continued to work and plan for the various matches scheduled for August and September.

    Return to Training sub group have continued their work to support Glasgow Warriors players with their transition from BT Murrayfield to their home training facility at Scotstoun on Monday 27 July.

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools sub group have finalised and shared a video on Return to Training Facilities Guide for Club & School Game. The video includes some guidance and advise on preparation of opening of Club facilities. Clubs are being advised, the key to safe operations is creating a ‘new normal’ for all coaches, players, match officials, staff & volunteers within the club.

    All recommendations should be undertaken in line with the Scottish Government guidelines. Clubs should carry out a risk assessment by a competent person prior to the re-opening of any facility. The assessment should be signed off by a Member of the Club Committee or a COVID19 Safety Coordinator. We are also pleased to say we now have 172 COVID19 Safety Coordinators in place from across clubs and schools. For your awareness, you can find our RTR video focusing on the safe re-opening of facilities HERE.

    The Return to Rugby sub group are also working on a Communications plan for stages 5 & 6 of the Scottish Rugby Roadmap, the plan will identify key triggers for continued progress through the Roadmap and will provide clubs, schools and our stakeholders with clear benchmarks which will support the planning process for clubs and schools.

  • Second phase of Club Hardship Fund - 15 July

    Phase 2 of the Club Hardship Fund is to assist clubs with the safe reopening of their clubhouses. The purpose of the fund is to enable clubs to complete the Scottish Rugby and sportscotland recommended safety checks prior to re-opening.

    Click here for the full update

  • Threat Management Group Update - 15 July

    Please see below the weekly update from the TMG

    The Return to Events sub group - a proposal for a small pilot event on Saturday 22 August for the PRO14 1872 Edinburgh v Glasgow match was submitted to the Government on Friday last week. We hope for some feedback in the coming days. The comprehensive operational plan included all the relevant health and safety documentation, advocating the concept of physically distanced matches at BT Murrayfield.

    As mentioned last week, the plan has been developed in collaboration with Celtic FC and the SEC, and Scottish Rugby has drawn upon Scottish Government medical advice and specialist international event advice in protecting all those attending our events. This concept has been shared with, and supported by, the Scottish Government’s Events Industry Advisory Group, Police Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

    The Return to Training sub group have been working on the latest transition for the players and a step closer to full fitness for the players. Glasgow Warriors players will be returning to Scotstoun on Monday 27 July to finalise their training ahead of the first PRO14 match on Saturday 22 August.

    Following the publication of their six-stage roadmap for season 2020/21, the Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools sub group have been busy hosting webinars. The webinar scheduled for Friday 10 July to provide an update to clubs and schools on all aspects of the Stage 3 guidance was extremely well attended, as was the Safety coordinator Phase 3 update webinar which hosted yesterday at 7pm. Clubs are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Co-ordinator in place, and a full risk assessment carried out before pitches can open. The COVID19 e-learning course for all players, coaches, match officials and volunteers will be available from this Friday.

  • Return to Rugby Stage 3 Guidelines for Clubs & Schools

    Scottish Rugby has released the Return to Rugby Stage 3 guidance for clubs and schools to follow the Scottish Government’s own Phase 3 announcement yesterday (9 July).

    The Stage 3 guidance has been developed by the Scottish Rugby Threat Management Group’s Return to Rugby sub-group and comes into effect as of Monday 13 July. Detailed information can be found at scottishrugby.org/clubs-and-schools/return-to-rugby.

    A webinar is being held at 3pm today (Friday 10 July) (registration link - https://tinyurl.com/ycu3m4h8) to provide an update to clubs and schools on all aspects of the Stage 3 guidance. The webinar will be recorded and uploaded to the Scottish Rugby website afterwards.

    Click here to read the full update.

  • Threat Management Group Update - 9 July

    On behalf of Dom McKay, Chief Operating Officer & Dr James Robson, Chief Medical Officer

    Yesterday the First Minister confirmed Scotland’s move into Phase 3 of lockdown easing following the sustained decline in national statistics.

    The most recent statistics indicate COVID has now been suppressed to a low level in Scotland, though it is important to remember the virus is not yet completely eliminated within the community and hence the FM urged everyone to remain cautious and follow the rules of the public health campaign, FACTS:

    • Face coverings in enclosed spaces – mandatory in shops from tomorrow
    • Avoid crowded places
    • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
    • Two-metre distancing
    • Self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

    Some of the major changes confirmed in the ministerial briefing were:

    • 10 July– Extended groups allowed to meet outdoors and a maximum of three households can meet indoors (with physical distancing)
    • 13 July– Organised outdoor contact sports for children and young people can resume (subject to guidance), and non-essential shops inside shopping centres can re-open (following guidance and with physical distancing)
    • 15 July –All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance), and indoor hospitality can resume (subject to physical distancing rules and public health advice)

    More information on the changes can be found on the Scottish Government Coronavirus page here.

    Although these changes are certainly welcome and bring the prospect of a much brighter future, we remain on high alert until we are completely clear of the virus in order to guarantee the safety of all our people and continue making progress to resume rugby and normal operations.

    Please see below the weekly update from the TMG

    The Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools group have been busy following the publication of their six-stage roadmap for season 2020/21. Sheila Begbie and her team hosted a well-attended webinar last Friday to provide further clarification of what the roadmap exactly means for clubs and offer them an opportunity to raise any questions they may have. Following the success of this webinar, Rugby Development plan to host webinars after every key Government announcement to maintain alignment within the rugby community, with another webinar scheduled for today at 3pm – registration link at https://tinyurl.com/ycu3m4h8.

    Also, to increase our reach across the wider rugby community, the group established a brand-new newsletter, The Clubhouse. The first issue of this ezine was released on Tuesday this week, providing the latest information and digital content to over 7,600 receipts to ensure even people involved in rugby across Scotland can be connected.

    The focus of the TMG has also been on the Return to Events sub-group work. The team have produced a comprehensive operational plan, furnished with all the relevant health and safety documentation, advocating the concept of physically distanced matches at BT Murrayfield and a proposal for a small pilot event on Saturday 22 August for the PRO14 1872 Edinburgh v Glasgow match. This proposal is to be presented to the Government today (Friday) for review.

    This plan has been developed in collaboration with Celtic FC and the SEC, and the team has drawn upon Scottish Government medical advice and specialist international event advice pertinent to protecting all those attending our events. This concept has been shared with, and supported by, the Scottish Government’s Events Industry Advisory Group, Police Scotland and the City of Edinburgh Council.

    We are confident we can deliver this event safely and responsibly. As members of the Events Industry Advisory Group, we are at the centre of active collaboration between more than 120 senior representatives from across the sector, including event organisers, local authorities, venues and the supply chain. The aim of this group is to establish a unified voice to use in dialogue with the Government and facilitate the sector’s recovery. We are delighted to say Scottish Rugby has been at the forefront of these discussions, and with this proposal and our close working relationship with the Scottish Government, we believe we can open the gateway for the Scottish Government to gradually and appropriately restart the wider major events sector and assist the recovery of the Scottish economy.

    Further detail on current guidance within the events sector and the work of the Events Industry Advisory Group can be found on the VisitScotland webpage here.

    Finally, the Return to Training group continues to progress through Phase 1 of their training plan and have now focused their efforts on finalising plans for Phase 2.

    It has certainly been encouraging to see the advances we are making in paving the way to restarting rugby and resuming normal operations across various aspects of the business, though again we would like to reiterate the need to remain cautious whilst the virus still poses a threat in society.

    We would like to extend our thanks to you all again for your continued patience and take this opportunity to urge you to continue adhering to Government guidance, stay safe and protect others.

  • Return to Rugby Roadmap for Season 2020/21​

    Return to Rugby Roadmap for Season 2020/21

    A roadmap outlining how rugby could return in Scotland for the 2020/21 season has been unveiled by Scottish Rugby today 3 July 2020.

    Scottish Rugby’s six staged roadmap for clubs and schools is aligned to the Scottish Government’s own phased exit from lockdown and in line with recommendations from World Rugby.

    Taking physical distancing and Scottish Government’s own phased routemap into account clubs are being advised that no adult competitive rugby is envisaged before October 2020. This is due to the number of stages to be worked through and, specifically, the uncertainty around timing of when full adult contact rugby training and therefore matches can resume.

    Clubs should not expect a traditional season in 2020/21. The rugby season may look very different, with regional and/or local fixtures likely to replace the competitive league programmes at many levels in order to stay in line with Scottish Government Guidelines, physical distancing and travel restrictions.

    Clubs and schools will be required to meet three specific criteria before any rugby activity can begin and meet further requirements before full contact training and matches can begin.

    Compliance with the public health, hygiene and physical distancing requirements in place locally at that time will be required at all times.

    Click here to read the full update on Return to Rugby Roadmap.

  • ​Updated Phase 2 Return to Rugby Guidelines for Clubs and Schools

    In addition to the guidance issued on Friday 26 June, Scottish Rugby has updated the Return to Rugby Phase 2 guidance in relation to outdoor hospitality and catering. This guidance comes into effect from Monday 6 July 2020.

    Outdoor Catering: As of Monday 6 July, clubs are able to open their outdoor space for catering (as long as they adhere to Scottish Government guidelines). Before doing so, it is recommended that clubs have appointed a Covid-19 Safety Coordinator to oversee public health and safety measures across the club, ensuring that the club is operating in a safe manner and following Scottish Government and Scottish Rugby guidelines.

    Click here to read the full update and for guidance documentation.

  • Threat Management Group Update - 2 July

    Please find below our weekly update from the Threat Management Group.

    This week the number of positive cases and deaths in Scotland have continued on a downward trajectory, however it is essential we avoid complacency given the still apparent threat of the virus in society.

    The Return to Clubs & Schools Rugby group have continued to liaise with the Government to secure further clarification on various recent announcements affecting grassroots rugby. With Government approval secured yesterday, Sheila and her team will share the season re-start roadmap with you tomorrow. This will be communicated via Club Comms followed by a webinar to outline the plans in more detail to member clubs.

    The Return to Events group has also made significant progress in their work this week. Following Ms Fiona Hyslop’s agreement to consider our proposal to use BT Murrayfield as a test venue last Thursday, the team have been developing a robust plan to welcome spectators back into BT Murrayfield on Saturday 22 August for the PRO14 1872 Glasgow v Edinburgh match. We are confident we can deliver this event to an excellent standard and ensure the safety of our players, employees and spectators, and we look forward to presenting the final plan to Government for approval next week.

    Throughout this pandemic we have built an excellent working relationship with the Scottish Government and have since been in almost daily dialogue with government representatives. Yesterday we met with Andy Sinclair, Head of Active Scotland, and his deputy David Hamilton, along with Claire Harness, Tavish Scott, Dr James Robson and Sheila Begbie. It was a productive meeting which resulted in a number of positive outcomes for Scottish Rugby:

    1. Physical Distancing Measures – The FM has announced today a sectoral approach to reducing the current 2m distance requirement. Going forward individual sectors will need to demonstrate what public health mitigations would be used to justify a reduction from 2m. Therefore, we plan include the case for 1m+ physical distancing in our submission to the Government next week advocating BT Murrayfield as a test venue. A reduction in physical distancing could potentially allow us to welcome more spectators into the stadium and help drive the business’ financial recovery.
    2. BTM as a Test Venue – We are to submit our operational proposal for the 1872 match on 22 August next week, with a clear understanding that the date may change depending on government assessment at the time. The success of this event would demonstrate our capabilities to the Government proving we can safely and responsibly host events and hence potentially open up further opportunities down the line.
    3. Community Rugby – The Government approved our communication to Clubs that the 2020/21 domestic season will not begin in August and have allowed us to share our season re-start roadmap with Clubs. As previously mentioned, this will be communicated to Clubs tomorrow.

    All the above demonstrate the great progress we are making and continue to make, and with further meetings with the Government and event industries across Scotland scheduled for next week, I hope to see further advancements in the near future. Nevertheless, we are at a critical point and must remain on high alert whilst the virus still poses a threat.

Scottish Rugby Updates in June 2020

  • Updated Phase 2 Return to Rugby - 26 June

    Scottish Rugby has updated the Return to Rugby Phase 2 guidance for clubs and schools. This guidance comes into effect from Monday 29 June.

    To begin preparing for when rugby can resume work has been developed by the Threat Management Group’s Return to Rugby sub-group to help clubs have appropriate measures in place to manage the safety of players, coaches and members.

    The information updated below outlines both guidance on re-opening pitches, guidance around players training and also new roles within clubs specifically to provide a safe environment.

    Click here to read the full update and download guidance documents.

  • ​Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group - 26 June

    Please find below the weekly update from the Threat Management Group. Click here to read the full update.

    In Scotland we are now in the 8th consecutive week of a continuous decline in the number of COVID-19 related deaths, whilst the number of positive cases in hospitals and new positive cases are also dropping. It is encouraging to see this sustained decline which has enabled the Scottish Government to make such major changes to lockdown rules and the preservation of this will certainly support our plans for resuming “normal” service.

    On Monday we commenced Phase 1 Return to Training, with both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors players participating in voluntary fitness sessions at BT Murrayfield throughout the week. The process has so far been successful, with players and coaches praising the outstanding work of the Return to Train sub-group which enabled this to happen.

    The success of this first stage of returning players to training has certainly been reassuring and given the TMG and its various sub-groups the confidence to continue building upon our robust plans for the future.

    Particularly for the Return to Rugby Clubs & Schools group, who continue to develop their roadmap for a return to train for clubs and community. Updated Phase 2 Return to Rugby documents will be released later today via our Club Comms and website outlining specific guidance for clubs and schools coming into effect from Monday 29 June and we hope to provide further clarification as we progress discussions with the Government.

    Furthermore, yesterday (Thursday) we met with Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, along with Scottish Rugby colleagues. In the meeting we explained our current plans for the sport at all levels and we proposed the use of BTM as a potential test venue with circa 1000 spectators on Saturday 22 August for the Warriors v Edinburgh 1872 PRO14 match.

    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.

    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.

    Overall, this week has been a positive step in the right direction for our sport, our people and our society as a whole.

    Though, in a time of constantly changing and varying government guidance across the UK we remain in consistent communication with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and the events industries across Scotland to ensure we keep making informed and proactive decisions to enable a safe resumption of our sport as soon as possible.

    Again, thanks to everyone for your constant support of Scottish Rugby and the work of the TMG and we very much hope to give you more detailed updates as we continue to move forward.

  • Clubs and Schools Return to Rugby: Phase 2 Guidelines - 19 June

    Scottish Rugby has published Phase 2 Return to Rugby guidelines for clubs and schools.

    Click here for the full story

  • ​Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group - 19 June

    We are beginning to see some good news regarding the pandemic and over the last seven weeks, the number of deaths in Scotland have continued to decline including the number of infected people. This is going in the right direction for society as we start to see some movement in the easing of lockdown. It was heartening to see the announcements from the First Minister yesterday as we move into Phase 2.

    This will support our plans of getting the players back to training and playing in the weeks ahead.

    Whilst we continue to cover off the main core topics of Government, Medical, Operations, Stadia, Our People, Performance Rugby, Community Rugby and Finance- we also received important updates from all the work groups ongoing to support the work of the TMG.

    This week the work of the Return to Train and Return to Community Rugby have been the main focus.

    As we prepare for players beginning voluntary fitness sessions next week, a cross section of staff from many different departments have all worked together to get BT Murrayfield ready for this first activity since the start of lockdown.

    Access to BT Murrayfield will continue to be heavily restricted only to those that need to be on site for critical business or performance reasons. This will allow Scottish Rugby to maintain a protected environment in the management of risk around COVID-19.

    For players, staff and others visiting the stadium, face coverings will be mandatory and provided. Temperature checks may be processed, and health questionnaires will have to be completed on arrival.

    Project Eden

    Work on Project Eden, the new stadium for Edinburgh Rugby has also recommenced this week on the back pitches and as a result we have worked hard with all parties to ensure plans are in place to ensure there is no cross over between ‘sites’ – Project Eden & BT Murrayfield with entirely separate access arrangements and thorough risk assessment measures in place.

    Community Rugby

    A detailed route map for Return to Train for clubs and community rugby along with appropriate guidance is being finalised ready for circulation. This will include all the information the clubs need to support them through the various Government phases over the coming weeks and months.

    Director of Rugby Development Sheila Begbie and the respective sub-groups have done a tremendous job here and we look forward to sharing this as soon as we are able to do so and the timeframes are signed off by the Scottish Government.

    There will be an update next week on follow up meetings we have with the Government. Topics we will be discussing include grassroots roadmap and our plans to restart the wider event industry through small scale test events.

    Finally, even as lockdown measures ease ever so slightly, the Scottish Government has launched a public awareness campaign called FACTS – which is designed to help us all remember the things we should be doing as we move into Phase 2.

    F – Face coverings in enclosed spaces

    A – Avoid crowded places

    C – Clean your hands and surfaces regularly

    T – Two metre distancing

    S – Self isolate and book a test if you have symptoms

  • Club Hardship Fund Update - 17 June

    Scottish Rugby has announced details of the recipients of its Club Hardship Fund (CHF) with each of the 82 applicant clubs across the country set to benefit from the financial support initiative.

    Click here for the full story

  • ​Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group – 12 June

    The TMG continues to review all aspects of the challenges facing us as Scottish Rugby and sport in general.

    The TMG sub-groups continue to work towards the Government’s Phase 2 of lockdown easing with the main focus over the past week being on the Return to Community Rugby and Return to Training, with the Return to Office, Return to Hospitality and Return to Events sub-groups also continuing.

    The respective teams are working on a route map for return to train for clubs and community along with appropriate guidance. Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch was once again on our Podcast – see link - and spoke about the challenge of rugby returning at Grassroots. If you have an opportunity please have a listen to the podcast as Professor Leitch covers numerous topics relevant to everyone connected to sport in Scotland.

    Scottish Rugby has also had follow up sessions with the Scotland-wide Events Industry Advisory Group this week with attendees from various industries including, sports, music, event operators etc. We are looking to progress talks with the Government as a sector on how we might work through the current challenge and restart in line with Government guidelines and an important area given how our own sport relies heavily on events and crowds. This will be an important group to support Government in restarting the whole sector.

    We continue to work very closely with our counterparts in Scottish FA, SPFL such that we are aligned in any documentation that we present to Public Health Scotland for approval for behind closed door matches and socially distanced matches with crowds, which again generate revenue for the benefit of the whole sport.

  • Jason Leitch: Sport has crucial role to play - 11 June

    Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch has confirmed sport is very much on the agenda when it comes to moving out of lockdown in an in-depth interview on this week's Official Scottish Rugby Podcast.

    Click here for the full story

  • Clubs and Schools Return to Rugby: Phase 1 Guidelines - 5 June

    Scottish Rugby has published Return to Rugby guidelines for clubs and schools during Phase 1 of the Scottish Government's easing of lockdown restrictions.

    The document provides a practical guide on the proposed Return to Rugby plans amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic. The following information is aligned to Scottish Government, sportscotland and World Rugby guidelines for Phase 1 of the route map for exiting lockdown. Scottish Rugby is working with the Scottish Government to ensure the domestic game can begin a phased return in line with its lockdown restrictions easing and aiming to help clubs through this process. Further information on future phases will be communicated when appropriate.

    There is a dedicated page on the Scottish Rugby website for details on facilities, events and competitions, coaching and other useful information for clubs and schools regarding the first phase of a return to rugby.

    Scottish Rugby has produced an at-a-glance infographic for information on the Return to Rugby guidelines here and full information available to read by clicking here.

Scottish Rugby Updates in May 2020

Scottish Rugby Updates in April 2020

Scottish Rugby Updates in March 2020

  • Scottish Rugby Update - 31 March 2020

    The 2019/20 domestic rugby season in Scotland has been classified as null and void, with Scottish Rugby joining its Irish, Welsh and Italian counterparts in coming to this outcome.

    This decision follows the earlier interim suspension and then final closure of the season based on Government advice in relation to the Covid-19 virus and is being issued today, 31 March in line with the previous objective of informing clubs by the end of the month.

    The decision to declare the 2019/20 season null and void – meaning there will be no automatic promotion/relegation - was reached following an extensive consultation process involving the participating clubs, the Championship and Competition Committee members and Scottish Rugby’s own Rugby Development Department.

    Click here to read the full update - Scottish 2019/20 Season Declared Null and Void

  • Scottish Rugby Board Update - 31 March

    The Board of Scottish Rugby met on Friday 27 March by conference call to discuss once again the on-going impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on both the sport in Scotland and Scottish Rugby as an organisation.

    The welfare of all our staff, clubs and players were top of the agenda and a full discussion held on the steps put in place to ensure they are all supported at this difficult time. It was noted that significant and detailed work is also on-going, at a pace, to review the considerable financial impacts on Scottish Rugby and the game in Scotland at all levels in respect of COVID-19.

    • Board agree all Board Directors (both Executive and Non-executive) to take a 25% deferral of salary/fee from April 1st to September 1st and CEO will take a 30% deferral for the same period.
    • Additionally, Director of Performance Rugby and our Head Coaches from the National Team, Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors also agreed to a 25% deferral for the same period.
    • Scottish Rugby’s “Threat Management Group” continues to meet via video conferencing each day to discuss key operational topics in light of COVID-19 including updates on health, our people, finance, professional and domestic rugby competitions, rugby development, stadium and facilities
    • All work on Project Eden, the new stadium for Edinburgh Rugby development on the BT Murrayfield back pitches, has been suspended until further notice in line with public health guidelines.
    • Scottish Rugby continues to work closely with World Rugby and its fellow Unions in relation to the international calendar moving forward.
    • All non-critical capital expenditure on BT Murrayfield stadium and wider projects placed on hold until further notice.
    • Full support given to promoting Govt public health messaging across Scottish Rugby’s own channels and joined the #LightitBlue campaign in recognition of the NHS last week.

    Click here to read the full update - Update from Scottish Rugby Board / Covid19

  • National Clinic Director praised Scottish Rugby community - 30 March

    Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director of the Scottish Government, has praised the Scottish rugby community for their ongoing efforts as the country works together to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

    Leitch took the time to praise those involved in rugby in Scotland and asked for more of the same.

    Click here to read the full article - Continued support from Rugby Community

  • Scottish Rugby Update - 20 March

    Scottish Rugby has determined the current (2019/20) domestic season will not be recommenced, and that the suspension of all rugby remains in place until further notice.


    Club Hardship Fund

    Scottish Rugby is now open to applications for funding from its newly created Club Hardship Fund (CHF). The fund was set up by Scottish Rugby to support clubs during the 2020 Covid-19 outbreak and premature end of the 2019/20 season, confirmed by the Scottish Rugby Board earlier today. The fund is designed to provide grants to clubs to sustain their business during this unprecedented period and help them to continue to deliver rugby in Scotland.

    Click here to read the full update and for application information for the Club Hardship Fund - Domestic Season to end and club hardship fund opens.

  • Guinness PRO 14 Rugby Update - 19 March

    The suspension of the 2019/20 season of the Guinness PRO14 is now on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Click here to read the full update - Indefinite suspension of Guinness PRO14 Season.

  • Hardship Fund Launched - 15 March

    Scottish Rugby has today (Sunday 15 March) launched a significant new funding support initiative.

    A new £500,000 Club Hardship Fund (CHF) will offer financial assistance to grassroots clubs facing cashflow and immediate financial challenges through the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

    Designed to help clubs through the period of uncertainty created by the Coronavirus outbreak, the CHF would release funds to support identified financial issues caused by a lack of fixtures or pressures on other revenue streams.

    With a lack of fixtures and reduction on public gatherings clubs may struggle for cash-flow and Scottish Rugby wishes to help and support them.

    In addition to the £500K Club Hardship Fund, Scottish Rugby is also accelerating its collective club support payments by a month, to April from May, which will in itself exceed £500,000 in funding to ease the financial burden.

    Click here to read the full story - £500k Hardship Fund Launched

  • Wales v Scotland postponed - 13 March

    Wales’ Guinness Six Nations clash with Scotland at Principality Stadium in Cardiff has been postponed.

    Click here to read the full statement - Wales v Scotland postponed.

  • Scottish Rugby suspends all rugby in Scotland - 13 March

    Scottish Rugby has today taken the decision to suspend all rugby in Scotland following the evolving Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

    In light of government restrictions on public gatherings and the resulting pressure on emergency services and healthcare provision, Scottish Rugby has decided that with effect from Sunday 15 March at 6pm there will be a short period without domestic competition (or training) whilst a further assessment can be made. This will be in effect up to, and including, 29 March 2020.

    Click here to read full update - Scottish Rugby suspends all rugby in Scotland.

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