LEEANN DEMPSTER fears Hibernian will be priced out of utilising BT Murrayfield after the financial realities of hosting fixtures at the home of Scottish rugby were laid bare.
The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) have been keen to extoll the virtues of their stadium as a potential option for both Edinburgh clubs, albeit Hearts are unlikely to require its use due to the Championship not beginning until October 17.
SRU have boasted that they can create a ‘bio bubble’ for major events during the Covid-19 outbreak, allowing for the maximum amount of spectators to safely attend matches.
With a capacity of 67,144, it would, in theory, allow for more fans than Easter Road’s 20,421, given the social distancing protocols.
However, Hibs chief executive Dempster confesses that she has dropped ‘from 70-30 to 50-50’ on the plans due to the potential financial pressures proving ‘more than Hibs could bear’.
With the Premiership campaign set to begin on August 1, the clock is ticking on the parties to strike an agreement or decide not to pursue the plan.
She said: “We are still having discussions with the guys at Murrayfield and we still like the idea.
“I would love to start the season at Murrayfield if we could do it.
“However, the barrier for us is the real, physical cost of putting a match on there because the stadium is so big.
“We would need to use virtually all of it from a social distancing perspective and the associated cost of opening up all of Murrayfield, even with reduced stewarding, is still significantly more than we could probably bear.
“It only really works for us if we can get 15,000 to 20,000 people in the stadium. That’s when it really starts to work for us.
“We have not given up hope yet but if you had asked me a couple of weeks ago I was probably 70-30 or 60-40 in favour of it happening. Now I am about 50-50.”