Brexit poses "significant concern" for The Open at Royal Portrush

R&A boss reveals the extent to which Brexit is posing problems for this year's Open in Northern Ireland.

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 27 Feb 2019


R&A boss Martin Slumbers has revealed how the dark cloud surrounding the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union ahead of the March 29 deadline could impact this year's Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland.


Portrush was awarded The Open in 2015 - more than a year before the UK voted on a referendum to leave the EU - and will play host to its first Open in nearly 70 years from July 19 to 22.

But with little more than a month to go until the decision is made on the UK's future, the R&A's chief executive Slumbers has expressed serious concern over the logistical preparations rather than the actual tournament itself. 

"Like every business, and I think about The Open as such, the lack of certainty about the rules, the law in which we are operating under post-March 29 has caused us significant concern," Slumbers told the media this week. 

"In hindsight, would I be wanting to do Portrush in the year that we would be potentially leaving the European Union without a deal? No."

Slumbers added: "The future of the border is the No.1 concern. We have over 2,000 containers to get across the Irish Sea, and we start building on April 2.

"The problem is we don't know whether to reschedule to bring all our containers in through Dublin (capital of Ireland), whether to move them through Belfast (capital of Northern Ireland), or whether to ship them out of the UK now."

Slumbers also made his feelings clear about this year's Open when he was quizzed by journalists at the recent Latin American Amateur Championship in the Dominican Republic.

When questioned on whether he was "looking forward to Portrush", Slumbers replied "well actually, I'll be quite pleased when it's over."


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