Club Statement | Tigers rule out 2020 season participation

A message from our owners concerning the 2020 speedway season:

“Having thought long and hard about the 2020 speedway season, we regret to inform you that the Tigers will not be taking part this year. There were many factors that lead us to reaching this decision, which we will cover off below. 

First and foremost, the health and wellbeing of supporters, volunteers, employed staff, riders and officials, is our number one priority. 

The restrictions in Scotland are different to those in England and have been for a few weeks now. Even if it turns out that we are allowed to stage live speedway in Glasgow come August, there’s a high chance that there will be a restriction on the number of people allowed to attend a live event. Furthermore, it’s almost certain that social distancing guidelines will be in place well beyond August. It wouldn’t be viable for us to restrict the number of people we can allow into the stadium, as not only would this be unfair to our loyal fans who’ve supported the club for many years, financially it also wouldn’t make sense, as unlike in some other sports where income is gained through additional streams over and above ticket sales, the income to the club is primarily down to tickets sales.

We’re also still very much trying to grow our fanbase in Glasgow, and we cannot do this if we have a restriction on the number of people we’re allowed to have in attendance. Given the size and layout of our stadium, together with the average number in attendance each week, it would be virtually impossible for us to safely control social distancing, and we’re simply not prepared to put people at risk where this isn’t possible. 

We also have the issue with rider availability. Five of our seven riders are currently overseas, with two in Denmark, two in Australia, and one in the USA. It’s unknown at this stage what travel restrictions will be in place come August, and even if there is unrestricted movement by this point, it’s quite a lot to ask riders to come back to the UK to take part in a vastly shortened season, having already been here and gone home earlier in the year, all at their own expense.

It’ll also come as no surprise to everyone that the weather isn’t the best in Glasgow come October. If we were to take part in a shortened season, it would be likely that we would be running right up until the end of October, with no doubt a few rain-offs along the way. It’s somewhat ironic that this would have been the best start to a season in memory with the weather we’ve been enjoying since the start of April.

Whilst we could have waited to see how the landscape changes over the next few weeks and months before making a decision on whether to run or not, this wouldn’t have been fair for our employed catering staff, who at the moment don’t know whether they’re to seek other employment or whether they’re unable to take on other commitments for Friday nights later in the year. It also wouldn’t have been fair on our riders, as again they would be unable to make firm plans, and in one case a rider is currently paying to rent a property in the UK and at home, as he doesn’t know if and when he’ll be needed back to race in the UK. We’ve also had many supporters contact us either directly or through social media, and it’s only fair that we provide an honest appraisal of the situation.

We’re also not convinced the appetite to come and watch speedway will be where it was last year, especially if it’s a shortened season and with many people not having received full wages for the last few weeks, let alone those who will sadly lose their jobs. We also need to consider our supporters and the confidence they’ll have in attending populated live events, given that many are in the ‘at risk’ category as far as Covid-19 is concerned.

Every speedway club is different and their own circumstances will be different to ours in terms of the size, layout and capacity of their stadium, the number of average attendees they get at each home fixture, what their own rider availability is like, and geographically where they sit in the country. We send our best wishes to those clubs who wish to take part in a shortened season, but it’s just not for us given all the challenges it presents. 

We’re desperately sad that it has come to this, as we had a fantastic training camp with the boys back in March, and the full team was ready and rearing to go. We will release information for our season ticket holders in the coming days, and we would like to thank our supporters and sponsors for their incredible show of support and understanding over the last few months; it really is much appreciated.

On the off-chance that social distancing guidelines are relaxed before the end of the speedway season, we may look to hold one-off individual events, so there’s a very slim chance that there will be some speedway in Glasgow this year. However, where the Tigers are concerned, we now look forward to the 2021 season.

In the meantime, please keep well and stay safe.

Best regards, Gerry, David and Peter