Supporter Update from Managing Director Doug Struth
As always, I hope that this message finds you as safe and well as possible. Once again, on behalf of everyone at Edinburgh Rugby, I would like to sincerely thank you all for your ongoing support, loyalty and patience.
It was brilliant to see rugby return last weekend – all those months of effort, drive and determination across the club culminated in a fantastic derby win that saw us lift the 1872 Cup for the third straight season, and, in the process, secure a home Guinness PRO14 Semi-Final for the first time in the club’s history.
Our attention now turns to this Friday’s rematch against the Warriors where we will welcome a limited, restricted and physically distanced crowd to BT Murrayfield – marking the first professional rugby fixture in the UK to host a crowd since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s fantastic that we’ll have some supporters in attendance to back the team this Friday night, and as a club, we recognise how privileged we are to be in this position. A huge amount of work has been taken on behind the scenes to get the greenlight, and it’s now our responsibility to ensure that this fixture goes to plan so we can build from here and hopefully welcome some crowds back to BT Murrayfield in the near future.
However, with that responsibly has come some tough decisions regarding ticketing for this pilot event, and it’s been clear from feedback and messaging across the club’s social channels that some supporters have felt frustration with the restrictions and protocols set in place for deciding attendees.
We can absolutely assure you that every restriction and protocol was put in place to protect you. Put simply, Friday evening is not a ‘normal’ Edinburgh Rugby home match. It’s a pilot event, and the key to this weekend will be demonstrating to the Scottish Government that it’s safe for crowds to start to return to stadiums in due course.
Scottish Rugby has worked closely with the Scottish Government regarding the restrictions and protocols in place. For example, to reduce the need for travel and to lessen the impact on the surrounding transport network, ticket applicants who lived closest to BT Murrayfield were prioritised. I must emphasise that this does not in any way mean that the club values our loyal fans who live outside the city centre in the Lothians, the Borders, Fife and beyond any less. I promise you that we are, and we always will be, a club for all our fans regardless of where you live.
On this occasion, we also required to ensure that attendees are seated as a single household group. Face coverings within the grounds of the stadium are also mandatory. Based on the restrictions and protocols, a stringent ballot process was then held among those former 2019/20 Season Ticket Members who were eligible and had applied.
Equally, as a club, we would have absolutely loved to offer tickets to this pilot event free of charge to former 2019/20 Season Ticket Members. However, that just wasn’t possible in the current financial climate. With a physically distanced stadium configuration - as well as the new COVID-19 related requirements and restrictions that we must work within – our operating costs have increased significantly.
However, we were determined to ensure that these increased costs were not passed on to our fans for this game and so ensured that a single price category of £20 remained for this match. In reality, this will only cover a fraction of the costs of staging this game, but receiving some ticket income is nevertheless an important element to mitigate these costs and to seek to ensure that the club is run as sustainably as possible over the coming months in what remains a hugely challenging time.
Without our fans, we are nothing as a club, and I hope this has been reflected the in the huge amount of work that we have put in over this past season. This work will continue to be one of our priorities as we look to inspire as many Edinburgh Rugby fans - old and new - and strive to create something very special in and around the club that will last long into the future. In an ideal world, we would be welcoming every Edinburgh Rugby supporter back to BT Murrayfield this weekend, but that just isn’t possible for the time being.
If you’re one the of the former 2019/20 Season Ticket Members who were successful in the ballot for this weekend, please enjoy the match and get behind the team as much as possible – but please also be responsible and look out for your fellow supporters. You will be cheering for, and representing, every other member of the Edinburgh Rugby family who cannot be with us at the game.
It’s vital that we follow government guidelines on Friday night as I’m sure, like me, you want crowds back at BT Murrayfield – you truly do make the difference.
Enjoy the match this weekend, and from all of us at Edinburgh Rugby, thank you for your unwavering support during these difficult times.
Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director