Scottish Rugby confirms end of club and school season as a result of Covid-19 pandemic

Club and school level rugby in Scotland has been shut down until at least March as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, following a recommendation from the Scottish Rugby Council.

The 2020/21 club and school rugby season in Scotland has been shelved
The 2020/21 club and school rugby season in Scotland has been shelved

Teams had previously been told that attempts would be made to start the 2020/21 season in January 2021 but that timescale has been put back until the end of the regular season, in spring.

Scottish Rugby confirmed that full-contact training and friendly matches could not be resumed under the current guidelines, with the tier system in place in Scotland preventing teams and players from preparing for competitive matches in the new year.

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Limits on travel have also impacted clubs’ abilities to fulfil away fixtures.

Scottish Rugby chiefs are hopeful that localised friendly matches can be staged in the coming months once safe to do so, while the Super6 teams will continue training and preparing for a regular season of fixtures starting at the end of March 2021, if government guidelines allow this.

‘Disappointing, but important to help lower infection rates’

Ian Barr, Scottish Rugby's President, said: “After much careful ongoing consideration by the Scottish Rugby Council, we took the difficult decision as a Council to recommend closing the 2020/21 domestic season, which the Board then fully supported.

“We know many clubs and schools were looking forward to resuming competitive matches in the new year, but Covid-19 remains an active threat and we must act responsibly, putting the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.

“We understand the decision will be disappointing, however it is important that we make the right choices to contribute to helping lower the infection rates and support public health guidelines, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”

Financial implications

Clubs and schools will continue to receive financial and practical support from Scottish Rugby.

The Supporting Clubs Investment Programme, created in response to the pandemic, has altered elements of its criteria, principally participation funding and player improvement funding, which were initially conditional upon fulfilment of matches.

However, these two elements have been replaced by a top-up payment, broadly similar in the amount clubs may have earned had the revised competitions for the 2020/21 season proceeded as planned.

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