Bagpipe ban for Scotland rugby fans


Scots turning up at rugby games in New Zealand will be faced with a bagpipe ban
SCOTLAND rugby fans have been hit with a bagpipe ban at the World Cup in New Zealand.

Jobsworth officials have reportedly outlawed bagpipes from stadiums amid fears they could distract Scotland’s opponents.

And now sports minister Shona Robison has written to the organisers asking them to overturn the decision.

This follows a complaint from Scotland fan and keen piper Matthew Strachan, 32, who has also written to John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Mr Strachan, a GP from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, said: “After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums.

“I’ve played the pipes in most of the UK stadiums and also in France during the last World Cup and they have always been gratefully received.

“Why then after many sporting years have the World Cup organisers decided against having them in stadiums?”

He added: “At least pipers should be allowed to play up to the start of the game and afterwards.

“What is a touring piper supposed to do with his pipes when refused entry to a stadium? I would not have bought as many tickets to other games had I known, because as a piper, rugby games to me have always included my pipes.”

Matthew Strachan has started a Facebook campaign to stop the ban

Mr Strachan had set up a campaign on Facebook to allow bagpiping during the World Cup which has over 200 members.

He added: “Pipers are respectful of play. I always hope the players themselves are picked up when they hear my music. Chris Cusiter re-tweeted the link to my Facebook campaign and I’m sure he’s not the only player who supports the cause.”

SNP MSP Jim Eadie said: “As the entire rugby world shows its respect for the traditions of the All Blacks and their Haka at the start of every game, it’s only fair Scottish fans can showcase Scotland with their bagpipes.

“There are many disappointed fans that have travelled to the other side of the world with their bagpipes only to be told they can’t use them in stadiums.”

Scotland has won their first two games in the World Cup against Romania and Georgia. Next they will face Argentina and the auld enemy England.

One win should be enough to secure progress to the quarter-finals for the seventh consecutive tournament.

But it looks like the players will have to achieve it without the sound of the pipes spurring them on.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We are sure this is merely an oversight and the Sports Minister has written to the organisers of the rugby World Cup in New Zealand to request this position is reversed.”