Murrayfield ice rink faces uncertain future

The future of Murrayfield Ice Rink hangs in the balance as owners plead with the Scottish Government to help them reopen their doors.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 7:00 am

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The beloved ice rink has been closed for more than a year following the outbreak of Covid-19 in Scotland and there are fears that it may never reopen unless substantial support is provided.

The government had provided SportScotland with £2million in funding to be shared amongst various ice rinks across Scotland that have struggled after being forced to close due to the pandemic.

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And it is understood that Murrayfield ice rink has been awarded with around £280,000 worth of funding - the most funding granted to any ice rink in Scotland.

But fears remain that this may not be enough to save the ice rink which has had to suffer immense losses after being forced to shut their doors.

Murrayfield Racers ice hockey team, one of many sports teams that uses the rink, have issued a statement to fans on their website that details the precarious nature that the rink finds itself in.

Willie Dunn, the Racers director, said: “It simply must reopen, not just for sports teams like ours, but also for the residents of Edinburgh.

Murrayfield Racers

“The issue is that the business needs substantial investment due to the age of the building and the length of time the rink has had to be closed.

“The government really has to see sense and ensure that the rink reopens. I understand SportScotland have been working with the rink to find a solution. At the moment we see youth teams travelling to Dundee to practice but this is unsustainable. People will instead move to more accessible sports. It has been a right of passage for so many teens to skate at Murrayfield and the loss would be felt right across the capital.

“We would normally be looking at recruiting players ahead of the new season beginning around September as well as securing sponsors but we can’t with the uncertainty. I hope the relevant authorities work with the rink so it can reopen and we look forward to getting back on the ice and winning some more trophies for Edinburgh.”

A spokesman for SportScotland said: "These are very challenging times, and it is important that we continue to work together with our partners across the whole 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.”

Murrayfield Racers

A government spokesperson said: “Up to £2 million has been allocated for grants supporting ice rinks. We have also provided more than £3 billion in support to businesses since the start of the pandemic.

“The Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) provided regular payments to businesses – such as ice rinks – which have been closed by law due to restrictions. Eligible leisure businesses also received top up grants in January and restart grants of up to £19,500 in April, equivalent to more than 6 months support provided by SFBF every four weeks.

“This is in addition to 100% non-domestic rates relief and furlough support. We will continue to work with partners in the sporting sector, including sportscotland and local authorities, around how we best support the sector.”

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