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.

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.

Dom McKay

Chief Operating Officer

Updated Phase 2 Return to Rugby - 26 June 2020

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 statement – Scottish Government meeting - 29 May

Scottish Rugby participated in a successful meeting with Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick and Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch today.

Read the full statement

Threat Management Group Update - 29 May 

This week the TMG and the supporting workstreams have made excellent progress in planning the safest strategies to return to rugby.

Click here for the full update

Latest Government advice affecting rugby clubs - 22 May

Scottish Rugby is advising rugby clubs across Scotland that they should not expect to resume any form of rugby training until Scottish Government and public health advice allows.

Click here for the full update

Summer Tour Statement - 15 May 2020

Scottish Rugby can confirm the 2020 Summer Test matches scheduled against South Africa and New Zealand have been postponed in light of the international impact of COVID-19.

Click here to read the full update - Summer Tour statement

Supporting #AsOne - 14 May 2020

Scottish Rugby would like to recognise the work of our Partners during this time and highlight the work they’ve being doing during COVID-19 outbreak to support key and front-line workers and those most in need over the past weeks.

Click here to read more

Jason Leitch talks rugby and COVID-19 Impact - 12 May 2020

Scotland’s National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch says he is impressed by Scottish Rugby’s proposed phased approach for elite players to resume training in an exclusive interview on this week's Official Scottish Rugby Podcast.

Click here to read the full article - Jason Leitch talks rugby and COVID-19 Impact

Scottish Rugby – update following COVID-19 meeting with Scottish Government - 5 May 2020

A statement has been issued by Scottish Rugby following our participation in a multi-sport round table meeting with Minister for Sport Joe FitzPatrick this afternoon (5 May 2020).

Click here to read the full statement

​Medical Update - COVID-19 - Letter to all clubs from Scottish Rugby CMO Dr James Robson - 1 May 2020

Firstly, thank you for your ongoing compliance with the important prevention measures introduced by the Scottish Government in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). By following these you have, and will continue to; prevent transmission of COVID-19, reduce your own risk, reduce pressure on the NHS and save lives.

Like all individuals in society, and specifically as Rugby Players, I appreciate that the current coronavirus pandemic has resulted in major changes in your lives and the lives of your families. Within the wider Scottish Rugby family we have unfortunately seen the complete spectrum of the COVID-19’s physical effects and undoubtedly there will continue to be cases. The disease’s effect on individuals mental health and wider society can also not be understated. Scottish Rugby and all our Clubs have worked hard to facilitate a number of ways by which you can help the overall health of yourselves, your clubs, Scottish Rugby and society.

In Scotland, and across many parts of the world, as we move through the current situation it is inevitable that all of us are going to experience some negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours. While a number of these and their extent are normal! It is important for us all to try to recognise when these are becoming too negative. Just like any ‘work on’ in your rugby skill set, or indeed at the time of injury, getting support to work through these will be important.

Please see the attached link which highlights several ways COVID-19 can affect your health, and signposts you to important resources. I would ask that you review it and refer to it over the next period.

NHSinform is the official Scottish NHS website: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19

Please continue to make good decisions, stay safe and look after each other.

Kind regards

Dr James Robson

(Chief Medical Officer Scottish Rugby)

Sheila Begbie reflects on the COVID-19 crisis - 27 April 2020

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, Sheila Begbie MBE spoke to the media last week to reflect on the current COVID-19 crisis and how Scottish Rugby and the Rugby Development Department were working to support clubs across Scotland.

Click here to read - Sheila Begbie reflects on the COVID-19 crisis

Dr James Robson reflects on COVID-19 Crisis - 24 April 2020

Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer Dr James Robson MBE spoke to the media this week to reflect on the current COVID-19 crisis and how Scottish Rugby and himself were working to support players and the wider organisation. Here is what he had to say.

Click here to read - Dr James Robson MBE reflects on COVID-19 crisis

Scottish Rugby Board Update - 23 April 2020

Scottish Rugby's Board issued an update in relation to the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here to read the full update

Joint Scottish Rugby & RPS Statement - 14 April 2020

Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland (RPS) have today issued a joint statement. Scotland’s top rugby players’ salaries may be reduced for five months as the country continues to fight Coronavirus and the resulting closedown of rugby and all sport. This follows discussions between Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland (RPS), the players’ association.

Click here to read the full statement - Joint Scottish Rugby & RPS Statement

Scottish Rugby Update - 13 April 2020

Scottish Rugby’s Chief Executive, Mark Dodson issued an update in relation to steps being taken to manage its operations in light of the COVID-19 crisis.

Click here to read the full update.

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 2020

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 2020

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 2020

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 2020

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 2020

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 2020

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 2020

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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