Tributes for unsung legal eagle hero of Edinburgh’s sport scene

From left, Edinburgh businessman Wallace Mercer, former Lord Provost Kenneth Borthwick, Alan Grosset and athlete Allan Wells launch the MacCommonwealth Lottery, a fundraiser for the Commonwealth Games 1986. Picture: Alan Ledgerwood
From left, Edinburgh businessman Wallace Mercer, former Lord Provost Kenneth Borthwick, Alan Grosset and athlete Allan Wells launch the MacCommonwealth Lottery, a fundraiser for the Commonwealth Games 1986. Picture: Alan Ledgerwood
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A former Edinburgh solicitor who successfully argued for Scottish sports clubs to be granted rates relief has died aged 76.

Alan Grosset, a former president of the Scottish Lawn Tennis Association, was also a member of Sportscotland from 1984 to 1992, for the last eight years serving as vice chairman.

It was in his role as chairman there that the specialist in sports law made a mark for which many small clubs throughout the country continue to be grateful.

It was down to him that small sports clubs had their annual rates burden significantly reduced after he argued in the mid-1980s that they paid a disproportionate amount of rates in comparison with England and Wales due to different valuation methods.

As well as being a champion for Scottish sports, he also enjoyed partaking. Badminton, golf and tennis were his favourites.

He served a two-year stint as captain at Duddingston Golf Club and was an honorary member of the Abercorn Tennis Club.

Away from sport he was a partner in Morrison’s Solicitors in the city centre before retiring and keeping his hand in as a consultant. He also served on the committee of the Royal High School Club which aims to preserve the history of the school.

In 2015 he acted for Duddingston Golf Club when they withdrew their support for a merger between the Scottish Golf Union and the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association after the proposal failed to address the voting structure for the 16 men’s Area Associations.

But sport remained Alan’s passion, whether standing on the terracing at Boroughmuir Rugby Club or assisting as Chairman of the Confederation of British Sport and as vice chairman of the Sports Dispute Resolution Panel.

Friend and sports journalist Bill Lothian said: “There can’t be an amateur sports club in the country which doesn’t owe a debt of gratitude to Alan for his work in easing their rates burden.

“But his influence goes much deeper. I sometimes thought that although Alan enjoyed playing sport he got as much satisfaction from untangling a complicated legal case relating to sport or completing one of the many forms sometimes required to be filled in by clubs to assist with grant aid for new courts or floodlights or the like.

“He played tennis, badminton and golf for many years but enjoyed watching Boroughmuir rugby club – I would occasionally desert the press box to stand alongside him and share his banter – and I know he had a soft spot for Hibs.”

Alan, is survived by a son, Robin, and daughter, Sara as well as his grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at the Warrison Crematorium, on September 6 at 2pm.