Preserving Murrayfield in name ‘non-negotiable’

RETAINING Murrayfield as part of the stadium’s title was a non-negotiable prerequisite of any deal to sell the naming rights for the home of Scottish rugby to BT, and that is why the response to this unprecedented manoeuvre by the Scottish Rugby Union has been overwhelmingly positive, said Mark Dodson.

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson. Picture: SNS/SRU

It was confirmed yesterday that the national stadium will be officially known as BT Murrayfield for the duration of a four year deal with the telecommunications giant. However, news of the partnership was leaked two weeks ago and Dodson says that he has had no negative feedback during the past fourteen days.

“Murrayfield was always going to be part of whatever this stadium is called and I’m delighted that the BT guys we negotiated with were really smart and really respectful about the whole process,” said the SRU chief executive.

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“They understand that this is a cathedral of rugby, they understand that this is a stadium that is renowned throughout the world, and they wanted to attach their name to it – not replace it.’

“It was never an issue in our negotiations. It was probably one of the first things that we knocked over.’

Dodson continued: “My post box can get quite interesting but on this issue it has been relatively quiet.

“Most people can see that being a partner with a global player like BT, who share our values and are putting real money into the game at both grassroots level and at pro level, is the right thing to do.’

“We sometimes underestimate our supporters. They understand what is going on in the world. They understand about the Aviva Stadium, they understand about the Emirates, they understand that this is part of sport now, and with that comes a certain amount of change. But we have tried to make sure that the change is respectful and the change is done in the right way.

“If you look at the history of Scottish Rugby it has always had ambition but it’s not always had the finance to support that vision.

“We got ourselves into some difficulty with debt some seven or eight years ago, we’ve now got our house in order and are paying that debt down,’ he added.

“We’re now going to be competitive in the professional game, and we want to be competitive in the age-grade, women’s and international games, and that takes finance and that takes a partner who shares that vision and is prepared to support that vision with cash.

“The fact that we are aligned in our values, that’s what gives this that transformational edge.”