Murrayfield to welcome back fans this Friday

A Pro14 clash between Edinburgh and Glasgow at Murrayfield this coming Friday will be the first rugby match in the UK to welcome back spectators since COVID-19 restrictions were imposed in March.

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) confirmed that the Scottish Government had given permission for a small number of fans to be in attendance. About 700 spectators are set to be allowed into the 67,000-capacity Edinburgh venue.

“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,” SRU chief operating officer Dominic McKay said.

“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.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that stadia would be allowed to reopen to a limited number of spectators from September 14 with “strict physical distancing in place”. However, a number of test events are likely to take place before then, with Celtic officials in talks with the government over arranging for the Scottish Premiership club’s match against Motherwell on August 30 to allow some fans through the turnstiles.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon said last week that the club is hoping to use the Motherwell game as a “trial”.

Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster added: “The next crucial step will be allowing Scottish football fans back into games, based on the comprehensive range of safety measures which have been developed by clubs in close consultation with health experts.

“Discussions on pilot events at Premiership matches are now under way and everyone is determined, for the sake of the Scottish game as a whole, to ensure these go smoothly and safely.”