Scottish Rugby announces Governance review at AGM

Scottish Rugby is to review its Governance structure to future proof the organisation in the years ahead it was announced at its Annual General Meeting today.

Scottish Rugby Chairman, Colin Grassie outlined plans for the first review of how the Board and Council work together in over a decade to reflect the rapidly evolving sporting and commercial landscape the organisation and its member clubs will operate in.

The move comes 13 years after the previous Dunlop Report which set out the parameters for the governance of the game in Scotland with an executive Board and independent, club led Council.

A recommendation for a new independent review from Scottish Rugby’s Governance Working Party was endorsed by the Board and Council and the work will be led by the GWP’s newly appointed independent chairman, Mr Gavin MacColl QC.

Speaking at the Annual General Meeting Scottish Rugby Chairman Colin Grassie said: “We need to keep pace with the external environment and our structure must be spot-on for the future development of rugby in Scotland.

“The Dunlop Report has served us well for over 13 years. It was an enormous step forward and now we look to evolve.

“The domestic game absolutely deserves the right structure to support it so it can flourish, while our growing organisation does not, and cannot operate, in isolation.”

Scottish Rugby’s Board and Council will meet in September to map out the next steps and will report back to member clubs.

It was also reported at the AGM how an improving national team and a global approach to commercial activity had contributed to a record turnover for the past financial year of £57.2M, an increase of £5.8m on the previous year.

This in turn had generated a strong surplus of £1.8M and enabled Scottish Rugby’s debt to be reduced to £2.4M, the lowest figure of the professional era.

A rise in broadcast revenues was a strong contributor to the figures, with new TV deals in place for the Guinness PRO14 and new channels keen to showcase both club and international rugby.

The retention and extension of deals with BT and Tennent’s, alongside new major brands such as global construction supplier Fosroc and other new blue-chip companies expected to be announced at the start of the season, has demonstrated the quality of the Scottish Rugby on-field product and attractiveness of the sport in Scotland and beyond.

Both of Scotland’s professional clubs have also contributed to the financial success with Glasgow Warriors achieving sell-outs of every home game at Scotstoun for the past two seasons, while Edinburgh Rugby achieved almost 40% commercial revenue growth with four new sponsors, including main club sponsor, Principal and Prosper.

The AGM also heard from Chief Executive Mark Dodson who detailed an increase in funding for domestic clubs of £340,000 in conjunction with a move to Minimum Operating Standards.

Clubs will have until 2021 to achieve the minimum level, while payments for attaining the Gold, Silver and Bronze levels will all come with a rise in the original payment level, to reward clubs for moving through the system.

Chief Executive Mark Dodson also announced details of a new cross-border competition developed with the Welsh Rugby Union which will see the top six clubs in the Welsh Principality Premiership play their counter-parts in Scotland’s new ‘Super 6’ competition.

The new Scottish top tier league of the domestic game will be introduced in season 2019/20 and its impact was debated at the AGM in light of what the subsequent leagues would look like and how player payments would feature at different levels of the game.

Member clubs passed a motion which had requested a debate around the wider Agenda 3 programme of club support and development and what form of amateurism would enable the game in Scotland to best progress.

Following the AGM the Scottish Rugby Council met and voted for Willie Gardner of Lanark RFC and Adam Gray of Stewartry onto the Scottish Rugby Board as Council representatives. They replace Jim Littlefair of North Berwick RFC and Mike Munro of Aberdeenshire.