Clubs vote overwhelmingly for change in the governance of Scottish Rugby

A change to the governance of Scottish Rugby passed its first hurdle on Monday night as member clubs voted overwhelmingly for a new structure.

SRU president Ian Barr. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
SRU president Ian Barr. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The motion, designed to provide more effective oversight of the executive by clubs, saw 109 vote in favour and five against at a special general meeting at Murrayfield.

A simple majority was all that was needed to take the proposals to the next stage and they will now be fine-tuned and presented before a second SGM for final approval in August. On this occasion a two-thirds majority will be required as it would mean a change to the SRU bye-laws.

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The landslide result will be a source of relief for those in the game given the sometimes strained relationship between the Scottish Rugby Council, which is elected by the clubs, and the Scottish Rugby Board, which runs the business.

The proposals, if approved, will see the Council replaced by a more effective body with responsibility for overseeing the work of the Board. The aim is to make the governing body more accountable and was welcomed by Mark Dodson, the SRU chief executive, and Ian Barr, the president.

It was described as “possibly the most significant change for… Scottish Rugby since the advent of the professional game” and Barr said: “The change that we’re proposing is actually to have... everybody working together for the same end, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

“Enabling our executive team led by Mark to have the full autonomy to run the business and, at the same time have from the clubs’ perspective, that oversight and scrutiny, transparency - all the key values that you have in modern governance structures.”

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Dodson denied that the proposed changes would have much impact on his work.

“My job is to make whatever governance structure that is created by SCOG work. I think this is a real step forward for Scottish Rugby.”

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Subject to final approval, the proposals will see a new company limited by guarantee set up to wholly replace the current entity.

The new company 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 selected with the assistance of recruitment consultants and appointed by Council or its successor body.