Edinburgh's Murrayfield Ice Rink in desperate situation as threat of closure looms large

The future of Murrayfield Ice Rink is becoming desperate as the owners say much needed investment is required to allow the business to reopen post pandemic.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:45 pm

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The rink’s serious financial issues came under the microscope after being forced to close their doors for over a year due to the Covid-19 virus.

It is understood that SportScotland and the owners are working together to try to find the necessary funds to save the rink.

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However SportScotland have only received £2m in funding to help ice rinks in Scotland - an amount that can only be stretched so far.

Murrayfield Ice Rink (MIR) primarily relied on everyday skaters and various sports clubs coming in to use the rink as a means for dealing with the high costs of maintaining the business.

But since the closure they are believed to have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds whilst being expected to cough up similar sums of money in order to be able to reopen.

The rink has had to battle a number of costs ranging from the difficulties in maintaining a listed building, payments for contracts with providers, new card machines to go cashless in the age of Covid, training for staff and most importantly ventilation installation that costs several hundred thousand pounds.

Murrayfield Ice Rink
Murrayfield Ice Rink

It had been reported by the Evening News earlier this month that Murrayfield had ben offered £280,000 - the most of any ice rink in Scotland - but it is now understood that no official offer, with terms and conditions relating to what the fund could be spent on, was made until this week.

Guidance released by SportScotland instructing businesses on the protocols they would have to have in place to meet regulatory requirements in the Covid age and this has meant spiralling costs for ice rinks.

It is believed that the hold up has been caused by both sides trying to hash out the details of what the money can be used for.

Murrayfield ice rink . EN feature

But even if SportScotland and MIR agree to the £280,000 grant, it may still leave Edinburgh’s beloved rink facing closure.

MIR said that it is their number one goal to ensure the safety of all of those who use the rink and that they will not rush into reopening if there is a danger of another Covid wave.

They reiterated that the cost of constantly opening and closing an ice rink is astronomical and cannot be done lightly.

Murrayfield Ice Rink

The Directors of Murrayfield Ice Rink, said: “SportScotland are aware of the costs involved in getting Murrayfield Ice Rink to a point of reopening and be compliant with their guidelines and we presently await Sportscotland's 'Offer of Award' with attached terms and conditions.

“We will continue to explore all options to keep the building operational.”

A spokesman for SportScotland said: “We formally wrote to Murrayfield Ice Rink on 6 May confirming an award of up to £284,485 – the largest single award made to any ice rink in the country. We remain in communication with the owners to ensure that this award is progressed at the earliest opportunity. We are fully committed to working with all our partners across the sporting system to ensure that sport and physical activity is in good shape and ready to play its part in the recovery of the nation.”

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