Dominic McKay says he is confident but can’t guarantee that Edinburgh will be playing in a spanking-new, custom-built, 7,800-seater stadium on the Murrayfield back-pitches at some point during the coming season.

“I would very much hope so,” said the chief operating officer of the Scottish Rugby Union. “That is our expectation, but I don’t want to make any promises that are not in our control to deliver. If it was in our control, it would be built by now.”

It is almost 13 months since plans to relocate the capital club from the international pitch at Murrayfield to a more appropriately sized venue which they could truly call their own were unveiled, but after an initial flurry of activity, the project seems to have stalled. The initial expectation was that Richard Cockerill’s side would be in situ by the start of the 2019-20 season, but a hold-up in receiving building consent has left the team, their fans and McKay deeply frustrated.

“I am growing grey hairs as a result of the time it is taking to work through some of the red tape in this city,” said McKay at yesterday’s launch of the SRU’s new partnership deal with Johnnie Walker whisky. “We’ve got a very positive experience through in Glasgow, where we’ve done some great work. So, it is great to see some of our colleagues here from the City [of Edinburgh] because we’ve got a developing relationship – an important relationship – and we need them to pull out the stops to make sure we can deliver this facility.


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“We’ve got our planning permission but there are a few bits of red tape to work through, so [it will be] as soon as possible,” he added. “There has been progress. Naturally, doing a facility as large as we’re trying to do takes some people a while to get their head around, so we’re working our way through that as fast as we possibly can.

“We’ve got the land here, we’ve got the space here, we’ve got the vision and the money to make it happen, so hopefully we can issue an update in the very near future.”

McKay was the first senior executive at Murrayfield to speak since it was announced that a governance review has been commissioned to be led by former Scotland internationalist and oil explorer Sir Bill Gammell.

The review has been criticised for lacking independence as Gammell has a pre-existing relationship with chief executive Mark Dodson, but also chaired a recent Murrayfield committee to select the teams which will play in the SRU’s controversial Super 6 league next season.

“We said last year that we wanted to have a look at the governance of the organisation and that’s now started. I’ll leave it to the great minds to look at it and reflect on it,” said McKay. “It is not really something that I feel I should be commenting on at this time. We’re suggesting that Bill Gammell looks at it, he comes back with his recommendations to the board and council, and as a result we’ll take that to the membership.”