Scotland’s first home game in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations against Wales on February 13 will be played behind closed doors, Scottish rugby confirmed this morning.
Officials at Murrayfield had hoped that limited numbers would be allowed into the stadium during the Six Nations campaign and have still not made a definitive decision on the two games later in the championship against Ireland and Italy.
The official status is that those games remain “under review”, but the strong likelihood is that the entire championship will be played without spectators. The schedule of games itself remains in some doubt.
The French government are still pondering whether to allow their team to play against England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales due to fears over the UK variant of the coronavirus.
European pool matches abandoned
They have already blocked matches between French clubs and those of the home nations, leading to an abandonment of the pool stages of both European club rugby competitions.
It remains possible that games could be postponed or delayed as in last year’s championship. Four games were moved to the autumn – and played without fans – due to the onset of the pandemic.
No spectators at the three Six Nations games will bring considerable pressure to bear on Scottish rugby’s finances, despite the security of additional Scottish Government money to cope with loss of revenues from the pandemic.
A total of over 400,000 fans attended Scotland’s games at Murrayfield in 2019, the last time they hosted three Six Nations matches. Turnover for Scottish rugby was boosted to £61 million in that year.