Murrayfield and the Stoop are set to be the first UK grounds to have supporters in attendance since the restart

Rugby to stage first pilot matches with fans

Rugby is taking its first steps to having supporters back at matches with two pilot events planned over the coming week.

Social distancing measures will be in place and only a limited number of fans will be in attendance at the two matches chosen, but if they are successful it will bode well for crowds to return – albeit in smaller numbers – for further matches.

The Edinburgh v Glasgow derby in the Guinness Pro14 tonight at BT Murrayfield will be the first professional rugby match in the UK to host spectators since the start of the pandemic in March, with 700 fans being allowed in.

Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby’s chief operating officer, said: “Scottish Rugby is delighted that a limited number of spectators will be in BT Murrayfield on Friday 28 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.

“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.”

Harlequins will then have up to 3,500 fans in attendance when they take on Bath at the Stoop on Saturday 5 September in the Gallagher Premiership.

A ballot is being held for 2019-20 season-ticket holders to attend, with prices £30 and £50 for adults depending on which stand they are seated in and £10 for U18s.

Harlequins chief executive Laurie Dalrymple said: “We have been working incredibly hard with the relevant authorities to demonstrate that we can safely and securely host events with supporters.

“A huge amount of work has been done across the club to ensure operationally and medically that we deliver our match-day events to the highest standard, meeting the stringent guidelines.

“Our successful hosting of both Harlequins and London Irish matches at the Stoop since rugby’s return have been a great test, but having supporters in the stadium is what everyone has been striving for.

“We hope that this pilot leads to further matches and increased numbers of supporters which will enable us to get as many supporters as possible into the Stoop, as soon as possible.”

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