'One Person, One Team' - Scottish Rugby Response To Edinburgh Statement

On 27 March Scottish Rugby announced the outcome of its review into professional rugby in Scotland. This stated that the Scottish Rugby Board decided to provide additional funding and support to its Glasgow Warriors pro team as a direct consequence of the Board’s decision to close the Border Reivers at the end of the current season. The Board accepted that it did not specifically consult Edinburgh Rugby Ltd (who now own the Edinburgh pro team) regarding its review, as Scottish Rugby was examining the future of its two remaining pro teams and not the Edinburgh team, which it no longer ownedOn 27 March Scottish Rugby announced the outcome of its review into professional rugby in Scotland. This stated that the Scottish Rugby Board decided to provide additional funding and support to its Glasgow Warriors pro team as a direct consequence of the Board’s decision to close the Border Reivers at the end of the current season.

The Board accepted that it did not specifically consult Edinburgh Rugby Ltd (who now own the Edinburgh pro team) regarding its review, as Scottish Rugby was examining the future of its two remaining pro teams and not the Edinburgh team, which it no longer owned.

Scottish Rugby was therefore most surprised to hear of ERL’s concern that it was not consulted about the review as Scottish Rugby believes that how it manages its own pro teams is entirely a matter for the SRU.

The contract signed by both parties in July 2006 does not require Scottish Rugby to consult with ERL. In addition, there was never any commitment given to ERL in relation to the number of pro teams in Scotland, when the Carruthers consortium bought the former Edinburgh Gunners team.

Furthermore, Scottish Rugby has confirmed that the closure of the Border Reivers will not have any impact on the contractual arrangements between Scottish Rugby and ERL.

Yesterday Bob Carruthers alleged in the Edinburgh Evening News that his consortium had offered to buy the Border Reivers pro team from Scottish Rugby in October 2006. This was communicated to Scottish Rugby on 6 October and Scottish Rugby gave its detailed response on 9 October. The SRU Bye Laws and IRB regulations do not permit this to happen. Both the SRU and IRB have specific regulatory rules in this respect, thus ensuring that the “one person, one team” rule is enforced.

The Scottish Rugby Board does not have the power to grant a request for control of more than one club to be held by one person. There are no exceptions to this rule.

The Scottish Rugby Board would not be able to grant such permission and in order to change this it would take a resolution, approved by two thirds of the member clubs in a general meeting.

In the unlikely event that member clubs were to approve this, the Scottish Rugby Board would then have to consider the implications of IRB Regulation 14. This states that the Union(s) involved must give written consent before any individual corporate body or partnership may own more than one club. For competition reasons all relevant unions that would be affected by such a sale (i.e, those in the Celtic League and ERC - Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, France and Italy) would be required to give consent.

At the time, in declining to progress the enquiry further, Scottish Rugby also believed that Bob Carruthers’ proposal to buy the Border Reivers, coming as it did just 13 weeks after he had bought Edinburgh Rugby, lacked credibility and that it made more sense to allow Mr Carruthers’ consortium time to deliver their vision for Edinburgh Rugby and the associated concerts business, known as Murrayfield Sport and Leisure.