Membership of the Union
The Union’s governing document, the SRU Bye Laws, make provision for a number of categories of membership. These are:
- Full Member Clubs
- Associate Member Clubs
- Affiliated Members (such as rugby playing schools)
- Ex Official Members (such as our Past Presidents, the SRU Trustees, Council members)
- Honorary Members
- Associated and Affiliated Bodies (such as the Scottish Rugby Referees Association)
The following details relate to the membership of Scottish Rugby by Full Member and Associate Member clubs.
Scottish Rugby Regulations
Scottish Rugby has adopted a domestic regulation supplementing our Bye Laws and providing further detail in relation to membership of the Union by Clubs, permissible Club names and permissible Team names. All those within the Scottish Rugby Union’s jurisdiction are required to comply with this Regulation.
Membership of the SRU and Policy on Club Names
1. Membership of the Union
1.1 In order to play rugby union in Scotland each team participating in the match must either:
(a) belong to a Club in membership of the Union; or
(b) belong to an affiliated school; or
(c) hold equivalent status with another national rugby union and have received permission to Tour Scotland from both Unions.
1.2 The Scottish Rugby Union operates two categories of club membership:
(a) Full Member Clubs: being clubs meeting the relevant requirements set out in the Bye Laws and which have been elected to Full Membership. This category of membership is designed mainly for those clubs participating in our league pyramid structure; and
(b) Associate Member Clubs: being all clubs other than Full Members, being primarily social, works, or armed services clubs; clubs which only play on an occasional basis; or clubs playing a specialist form of the game (such as Golden Oldie only, age grade only, sevens only, wheelchair rugby, etc.)
2. Membership Rights
2.1 Membership of the Union is personal to the Club in membership and cannot be transferred or assigned. The only exception to this is set out in section 6 below.
3. Applications for Associate Membership
3.1 In order to apply for Associate Membership the prospective member Club is required to supply the following information:
(a) The name under which the Club is to be known (see also section 7 below);
(b) Full contact details for at least three club officials. The Club’s primary contact for correspondence with the Union should be designated as being the “Club Secretary”;
(c) A copy of the Club’s constitution (please note that advice on forming a club and a model Club constitution is available from the sportscotland website at sportscotland.org.uk);
(d) A completed Club Accident Insurance Proposal Form. (All clubs are required to be insured prior to playing. A basic level of catastrophic injury cover is available for free through the Club’s membership of the Union.
(e) Letters of support from two Full Member clubs in the same geographical Area as the new Club. This can be arranged by the Union’s Legal and Governance Department if required.
3.2 The form attached Membership Application Form may be used to apply for Associate Membership.
3.3 Associate Membership applications are considered by the Scottish Rugby Board at its monthly meeting. The decision of the Board will be notified to the applicant in writing.
4. Applications for Full Membership
4.1 In order to qualify for Full Membership of the Union an Associate Member Club must meet the following criteria:
(a) Unbroken Associate Membership of the Union for a period of not less than three years;
(b) Ownership of, or satisfactory tenure/the right to use, a ground with adequate facilities;
(c) Club membership of not less than 50 for the immediate past three years; and
(d) The Club must have played in a qualifying league on a continuous basis for the previous three seasons.
4.2 Applications for Full Membership must be proposed and seconded by Full Member clubs and are be considered at the AGM each year.
4.3 A vote of two thirds of those present and entitled to vote at the AGM is required to approve any Full Membership application.
5. Failure to Maintain Full Membership Criteria
5.1 In the event of a Full Member Club failing to maintain the Full Membership criteria for a continuous period of three years the Scottish Rugby Board may resolve to reduce the Club to Associate Member status.
6. Transfer of Membership to new Legal Entity
6.1 Should a Club wish to transfer its membership to a different legal entity for the purposes of re-structuring, re-organisation or, for instance, to obtain the benefit of limited liability, it should apply to the Secretary of the Union in writing setting out the nature of the proposal. Such requests will be considered by the Scottish Rugby Board.
6.2 In granting the transfer of membership rights the Scottish Rugby Board may impose such conditions as it deems appropriate.
7. Club Names
7.1 A Club cannot be accepted into membership of the Union until its name has been approved in writing by the Union.
7.2 A Club may not change its name without the consent of the Scottish Rugby Board.
7.3 Where two or more clubs merge the name of the merged club will require to be approved by the Scottish Rugby Board.
7.4 Any application for the approval of a Club name or change of name must be made in writing to the Secretary of the Union. Approval of such applications shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed but the Scottish Rugby Board will have the power to reject any name it believes to be confusing, offensive or liable to bring the Game into disrepute.
7.5 The Scottish Rugby Board shall have the right to determine the date that any name change shall become effective.
7.6 Other than in exceptional circumstances a Club will not be allowed to change its name with an effective date outwith Close Time.
8. Team Names
8.1 Without the prior written consent of the Union a Club may not change the name of its First XV (or that of any of its other teams) if the team participates in a League.
8.2 Any application for the approval of a change of Team Name must be made in writing to the Secretary of the Union. Approval of such application shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed but the Scottish Rugby Board will have the power to reject any name it believes to be confusing, offensive, liable to bring the Game into disrepute or commercially prejudicial to the interests of the Union.
8.3 The Scottish Rugby Board shall have the right to determine the date that any name change shall become effective.
8.4 Other than in exceptional circumstances a Club shall not be allowed to change any Team Name with an effective date outwith Close Time.
Membership of the SRU and Club Names: Frequently Asked Questions
Who is covered by the Regulation?
The SRU governs all Rugby Union in Scotland – all Scottish teams must therefore be members of our Union in order to be able to play.
Do the rules just relate to fifteen-a-side rugby?
No. The Regulation covers all forms of the game. For instance we have as members clubs which:
- Just play Sevens;
- Just play under the Golden Oldie Laws;
- Just play mini rugby;
- Just play wheelchair rugby.
Can my team just play “friendly matches” and not have to bother joining?
No. All teams and clubs need to be governed by our Union – but remember in return your team will receive free catastrophic injury cover and a range of other benefits.
We are only going to be playing a one-off game – is there any other option for us?
It is possible to play a one-off match providing (1) the team is properly insured and (2) Scottish Rugby has given it's permission. For more details please see detail on Permissions to play matches involving a scratch team.
- Where can I find the Application Form for a new Club?
Why does Scottish Rugby need to approve our Club name?
We retain the right of approval in order to prevent the use of potentially confusing or offensive names.
Why does Scottish Rugby need to approve Team names?
As for club names we wish to avoid the use of confusing or offensive terms. We would also wish to e.g. prevent “ambush marketing” which impacts on the rights of the league’s title sponsor.
The rules prevent name changes other than in “Close Time” – what is Close Time and why do you have this rule?
In the rugby calendar there is a period each year during which no rugby games are permitted – this is “Close Time”. During 2016 this runs from 23 May to 5 August 2016. We restrict name changes to this period to avoid the potential confusion which might arise if the change were to happen mid-season.
If you can't find the information you're looking for or have a specific query on Membership of the Union or in relation to Club or Team names please contact Scottish Rugby’s Head of Regulation, Graham Ireland, at [email protected] or 0131 346 5004.