Rugby boss accuses SRU of running a ‘sham’ team

Bob Carruthers has called for a frank discussion with SRU
Bob Carruthers has called for a frank discussion with SRU
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THE former owner of Edinburgh Rugby is set to sue the Scottish Rugby Union after accusing the game’s bosses of “fraudulent misrepresentation” and running a “sham rugby team”.

Film and music mogul Bob Carruthers agreed to sell the professional club in the summer of 2007 following a long-running feud with the SRU.

Mr Carruthers said the £685,000 deal called for the team to be run by a separate company, The Murrayfield Experience, not the SRU.

But lawyers for Mr Carruthers are threatening the SRU with legal action after alleging that the firm had no employees and was merely a front for rugby chiefs to control the club.

Mr Carruthers is seeking £72,164 in unpaid fees from The Murrayfield Experience, which he claims submitted “phantom” costs for a club it never ran.

The 50-year-old told the Evening News he was willing to discuss the matter with the SRU, adding that an inquiry should be held into the running of Edinburgh Rugby to help rebuild the Scottish game.

Mr Carruthers said he hoped his intervention may spark the creation of four district professional sides, and said he would consider taking over the Capital’s team once again.

In a letter sent to the SRU, lawyers for Mr Carruthers allege that The Murrayfield Experience submitted a claim for £28,000 for team expenses, alleging that this was a “fraudulent misrepresentation” as the firm had “no employees and incurred no expenses”.

It is claimed the cash would have come from a £60,000 fund established by Mr Carruthers before he left Edinburgh Rugby.

Mr Carruthers said: “The SRU has no right to Edinburgh Rugby or the name ‘Edinburgh Rugby’ because that right belongs to The Murrayfield Experience. But The Murrayfield Experience was just a sham.

“Clearly, the SRU have been running the team all along. There needs to be an inquiry by the SRU, whether it’s independent or internal, to find out what The Murrayfield Experience’s role was.”

Mr Carruthers alleges that The Murrayfield Experience submitted expense claims for £28,000 in respect of employees, including star players. But since it had no employees and failed to carry out the obligation to run a professional rugby team, it was alleged to be in breach of contract.

Mr Carruthers said he hoped the latest conflict with rugby bosses could be settled outside the courtroom.

His ownership of Edinburgh Rugby ended after a turbulent 12 months in August 2007 following disputes with the SRU over the availability of players called up for international duty.

He said: “The creditors of Edinburgh Rugby are entitled to recover their losses. But we need to have an open and frank discussion with the SRU to understand what’s happening with the professional game in Scotland and build for the future.

“What Scotland needs is four professional regional districts. We need to bring in investors and ensure that the game’s governance is rock-solid. Whether I’m part of that or it’s someone else, I don’t mind. What’s important is that the game is rebuilt.”

The SRU was contacted but declined to comment.