Scottish Rugby Launches Manifesto
With less than three months to go until the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May, Scottish Rugby has today published its own Manifesto aimed at informing the political debate on a wide range of sports-related issues and initiatives. The Scottish Rugby manifesto is located hereThe Scottish Rugby manifesto is located here With less than three months to go until the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May, Scottish Rugby has today published its own Manifesto aimed at informing the political debate on a wide range of sports-related issues and initiatives. The Manifesto, "Developing Rugby, Improving Scotland. The role of Rugby in the wider political agenda: A Manifesto for 2007" outlines how the sport in Scotland has changed in recent years. It highlights rugby's future plans and aspirations, dispelling out dated myths surrounding the game and illustrating how the sport can contribute to wider social policies such as Health, Skills and Social Inclusion - and ultimately improving Scotland as a whole. Encouraging and enabling Scotland to become a healthier, more cohesive society is a goal shared by all and none more so than Scottish Rugby. The governing body is embarking upon a rugby pilot programme with NHS Lothian, to drive up physical activity in certain schools. It believes there should be at least two hours physical activity or more in schools each week. It is hoped the NHS Lothian pilot programme will improve the overall health of the young people taking part. Scottish Rugby seeks to work closely with all political parties, to ensure rugby's future participation in a variety of health agenda initiatives. It will examine with interest the extent each party makes provision for sport's unique ability to make a significant contribution to the health agenda within their own manifestos. As each political party gears up for the polls in May, Scottish Rugby hopes politicians will give careful consideration to assessing the role sport, and rugby in particular, can play in social inclusion, not just on the playing fields but also in the playgrounds and poorer communities. Contrary to public perception, some 86% of schools affiliated to Scottish Rugby are state schools and the phenomenal success of Bell Baxter High School in Fife this season, winning three national school and club titles, underlines the changing face of rugby today. Rugby has long since shed its "elitism tag" and welcomes and encourages schools such as Drumchapel High School into its competitive structure. Rugby clubs such as Cartha Queens Park in Glasgow support PE teachers in five local high schools, to provide rugby as part of the curriculum. The sport is also beginning to work with partners to establish street rugby in inner cities. Through the Regional Development Manager network, Scottish Rugby is enlarging the rugby footprint with key partners such as local authorities and the rugby club network. Scottish Rugby commends the Scottish Executive funding announced this week for football's new Kick Start programme for young people, as part of the Not in Employment, Education or Training strategy (NEET). It would welcome similar involvement with rugby and looks to all parties to include provision for such sporting initiatives involving rugby and other sports in their manifestos. Scottish Rugby believes that it is a major contributor to the Scottish economy. An independent economic impact survey carried out by Napier University of the benefit to the Scottish economy of the 2003 Ireland, Wales and Italy Six Nations home matches at Murrayfield, confirmed the significant contribution such rugby events make to Scotland's economy, with an overall economic benefit of £53 million and the Wales match alone attracting £22 million. These numbers are likely to have grown. In recognition of this and in an effort to maintain and improve partnerships not only with government and politicians but also with local authorities and other public bodies, Scottish Rugby is looking to obtain greater support from such partners, particularly in its major rugby events strategy. To this end, it plans to commission a further economic analysis of the March 2007 Scotland v Ireland RBS 6 Nations home international, to offer such partners further confirmation of rugby's economic contribution to the nation. Scottish Rugby's 2007 Manifesto outlines the governing body's significant progress in terms of governance and financial accountability, in its efforts to address its £23 million debt. It seeks closer partnerships with all political parties, particularly in terms of rugby's contribution to wider social policies such as Health, Skills and Social Inclusion. The Manifesto also outlines Scottish Rugby's desire to work with all parties, including the surrounding community, to implement an effective flood prevention scheme around the national stadium and local area and to allow the responsible sale of alcohol at international rugby matches. Scottish Rugby eagerly anticipates assessing the provision for and role of sport, included in the manifestos of all political parties in the coming weeks.