SRU chief executive reminds players to comply with coronavirus regulations

General Manager Mark Dodson announced that the Scottish Rugby Union has reminded its players of their responsibilities as professionals as the governing body seeks to make up for losses of around £ 18million this year.

Dodson acknowledges the gravity of the situation in Aberdeen, where coronavirus cases are on the rise and two Dons soccer players tested positive after a recent trip to the pub, with six others self-isolating.

This has resulted in Aberdeen's Scottish Premier League encounter against St Johnstone being postponed. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused the players of jeopardizing the return of football after a “clear violation” of the protocols.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon got involved after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus (Fraser Bremner / Scottish Daily Mail / PA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon got involved after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus (Fraser Bremner / Scottish Daily Mail / PA)

And the matter sharpened the mind before rugby returns in Scotland, where Glasgow and Edinburgh will continue their PRO14 campaigns with two derbies in Murrayfield on August 22nd and 28th.

Dodson said: “We reminded our professional players (on Friday morning) of their responsibilities.

“We are ready to resume but we think very strongly about the threat from Covid-19 and I think this is a clear reminder of the danger from Covid-19, not just in sport but for society at large we are we are aware of it.

"When you see things that have happened across the country in the last two or three weeks, you are reminded that this is a societal issue and that we must continue to follow the medical advice we received."

Dodson is "hopeful" that some fans will be in attendance at one of the Glasgow-Edinburgh games and denied speculation that what happened in Aberdeen may have been a setback for the crowd returning to the stadiums .

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Glasgow's Rob Harley, Fraser Brown, Ryan Wilson, Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour (Ian Rutherford / PA)

He added, "I don't think so. We have worked very closely together and have been very clear about the steps we are taking to ensure we are as safe as possible for a sport to resume.

"Our message is clearly understood and is very well heard within the government."

Recent estimates suggest that the SRU is expected to lose £ 18million this year, according to Dodson, who admitted that number could soar if the public health crisis hits the Six Nations in 2021 and Scotland hosts three Games.

Dodson said: "The scenarios are always moving, that's one of the problems we have. We have a good view of what kind of deficit it is and we see a deficit of £ 18m this year our earnings.

"It is a serious situation for us and we are taking all appropriate steps to achieve it.

"I would say £ 18m is on the harder end, but only the Six Nations have to be canceled and then we're in a whole new scenario."

Scotland will travel to Wales for their final game of this year's Six Nations (Jane Barlow / PA).
Scotland will travel to Wales for their final game of this year's Six Nations (Jane Barlow / PA).

The number of visitors who take part in autumn international matches was not taken into account. The traditional tests are to be replaced by a new eight-team tournament involving the six-nation teams as well as Japan and Fiji.

Dodson said: "I'm pretty optimistic there is a good chance it will take place. We have had extensive negotiations, not only with the Six Nations (teams) but also with Japan and Fiji.

"We think we're about to announce this."

The final of this year's Six Nations will take place on October 31st. Scotland travels to Wales – although the game will take place outside the Principality Stadium as it is used as a temporary hospital.

When asked if he had a preference for the location of the game, Dodson added, "No, we're going to play someone somewhere. You're either good enough or not good enough."



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