THE struggle to create a governance structure for the Scottish Rugby Union which can work for everyone in the sport in the professional era will face a critical moment when a Special General Meeting for the governing body is held at Murrayfield this evening.
Member clubs will be asked to vote on proposals which have been painstakingly drawn-up by the SRU Council’s Standing Committee on Governance [SCOG] with the aim of establishing a long-term solution to the governance problem which has been a running sore in Scottish Rugby since at least the summer of 2018, when a series of scandals uncovered a dysfunctional relationship between the Scottish Rugby Council (elected by the clubs) to oversee the sport) and the Scottish Rugby Board (hired to run the business).
The proposal is for a new company limited by guarantee [CLG] to take over from and wholly replace the unincorporated association known as SRU, together with all the assets of the SRU Trust [ie. the land at Murrayfield],
The CLG Board will have eight ‘Custodians’ consisting of an independent chair, the President, Vice President and immediate past President of the SRU, two members elected by the clubs and two recruited individuals.
It will oversee the work of Scottish Rugby Union Limited [SRUL] as it continues to run the organisation’s commercial affairs and interests, including the management of assets and the administration of professional rugby. A Relationship Management Agreement [RMA] between CLG and SRUL will be created and the Board of CLG will have to give formal approval to annual budget, annual and/or longer-term strategy and the appointment or re-appointment of Chair of SRUL.
Meanwhile, a Club Rugby Board [CRB] is to be set up to “be directly involved with CLG and the Executive team of SRUL in the formulation and implementation of the strategic vision, mission, and development of the domestic game in Scotland, including the allocation of resources to member clubs and other domestic rugby bodies”.
The CRB will be made up by individuals elected by the clubs and have its own budget, currently proposed at 15% of SRUL’s annual turnover, with the aim of alleviating anxiety at grassroots level about clubs being marginalised and/or short-changed by Murrayfield.
As one club stalwart who supports of the motion said: “I genuinely hope we can all now move beyond such partisan nonsense under the new structure. It’ll give the clubs more direct influence over their part of the game. Which, of course, is something many having been shouting loudly about for ages. Let’s hope some grown-ups with a wider horizon than their own men’s 1st XV step up then to the challenge.”
A simple majority in a vote of member clubs is required to approve the proposals, and it is anticipated that this will be comfortably achieved.
This will allow SCOG to start the process of implementation so that all final proposals, including the proposed Relationship Management Agreements and new constitutional documents, can go before a second SGM for final approval in August.