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SRU’s Financial Problems

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    SRU’s Financial Problems

    <H1 =ing>Bank probe into finances ‘could have closed SRU’</H1>
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    <DIV =article-author><!- Print Author name from By Line associated with the article ->@@@@SPAN =small>@@@@/SPAN>@@@@SPAN =byline>Lewis Stuart @@@@/SPAN>
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    The true level of the peril facing Scottish Rugby was dramatically unveiled yesterday when Gordon McKie, the chief executive, revealed that when he took the job 18 months ago, the union’s bank was launching an investigation that had the potential to close the organisation. It owed £23 million in a bank loan and overdraft, and after a year dominated by a bitter, public power struggle, the bank had launched an independent investigation into its affairs, codenamed “Operation Shark”.

    McKie was obviously pleased to be able to add that the bank now seemed happy with the way the union was being run, helped by its obvious willingness to take tough decisions such as the recent one to close down the Borders team, though he denied that that had been done to save money and promised that the cash saved would be reinvested, mainly in the Glasgow team and the rest in the clubs and academies.

    However, just as it appeared that McKie and his executive colleagues could relax after a project to rescue the Borders from their closure decision was on the point of collapse, he has found himself in a public and acrimonious slanging match with the owners of the Edinburgh club.

    At the heart of the quarrel is who owns Edinburgh’s part of European Rugby Cup, the organisation that runs the Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup. As far as the owners of Edinburgh are concerned, the European membership was one of the contracts transferred to their company when they bought the club last August. As far as the union is concerned, it transferred no international rights and is the sole Scottish representative on ERC, though McKie admitted that the SRU was duty bound to “consult” Edinburgh ahead of any far-reaching decisions. <!-#include ="m63-article-related-attachements."->

    At the heart of the quarrel is money. The union was getting £2.1 million from ERC and another £600,000 from the Magners League for entering three teams in their competitions. Edinburgh, however, were only getting £525,000 of that. They feel that they should have been getting a full third of the SRU share, and that when the union cuts Scottish involvement to two teams, then the pot should be shared equally between them.

    Bob Carruthers, the Edinburgh owner, believes that if the money is not shared, then the union is both in breach of its contract over Edinburgh’s shares in the competition organisations and is abusing its monopoly position as the governing body of rugby in Scotland. Both aspects, he has warned, could see legal action between the two sides.

    The union sees things differently. As far as it is concerned, it struck a deal with Carruthers and it is not its fault if it undervalued the commodity. However, it is understood that the SRU has been prepared to consider some increase in the pay-out as a goodwill gesture and has also offered to lend money to cover Edinburgh to ease the cash flow, particularly over the summer when the club wil
    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

    In contrast IRFU is to make profits of €3million+ this year up from €816,000 in 2006 according to the IT. Turnover about €50million.



      Scotland's woe makes our crisis seem insignificant
      Friday April 20th 2007

      AS Irish rugby ponders the possible effect of the Heineken Cup crisis, spare a thought for Scottish rugby, WRITES KIERAN ROONEY.

      News that international scrum-half Chris Cusiter is to join Perpignan on a two-year deal means that at least 10 players have now opted to leave.

      Throw in the Scottish Rugby Union's financial crisis, and the fact that the Border Reivers are to be disbanded, and you are left with one hell of a mess.

      It's all quite extraordinary, especially for anyone who witnessed how healthy rugby was around the Border regions prior to the decision to go down the district route in the 1996/97 season.

      What works in one country clearly doesn't work in another. On the face of it, the Borders was a wonderful catchment area, with some of the top clubs in Scotland - Gala, Hawick, Jedforest and Melrose - based there.

      Yet, the Border Reivers have drawn crowds numbering in the hundreds, while Edinburgh and Glasgow also get dismal attendances. On the club scene, Gala, who 10 years ago were among the main contributors to the Scottish side, will tomorrow be fighting to avoid relegation to Division Three.

      Where it is all going to end up is anyone's guess. Ian Barnes, a former international second-row and Edinburgh coach, on hearing the news that Borders is to be disbanded, commented: "That's one down, two to go."

      So, when you think of it, Ireland's Heineken Cup problems don't seem quite so bad after all.
      Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale



        08/06/2007 - 11:19:05 AM

        Alcohol sales at Murrayfield World Cup games approved

        Scotland’s justice secretary Kenny MacAskill today gave the green light for rugby fans to drink alcohol during this autumn’s IRB World Cup matches at Murrayfield.

        He announced that senior men’s international rugby matches are no longer to be included in the ban on alcohol sales at designated sports grounds for certain events.

        It will now be up to Edinburgh City Licensing Board to consider any application that the Scottish Rugby Union put forward for upcoming international matches.

        The move is a trial and ministers will look carefully at the effect, particularly in relation to public safety and responsible sales.

        Scotland face Romania at Murrayfield on September 18 and New Zealand on September 23.

        Mr MacAskill said: “There is a world of difference between people drinking a bottle of cheap cider in a park to get drunk and enjoying a pint of beer at half-time of a rugby match.

        “We’ve listened to representations from fans, Scottish Rugby and the police.

        “The fans can’t understand why they can have a drink at Twickenham and at Millennium Stadium and at some rugby games and not others.

        “They want to be able to enjoy a civilised drink during international matches at Murrayfield.”

        The sale of alcohol was banned at stadiums across the country in the aftermath of the 1980 Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers, which saw rival fans battling on the field and police on horseback attempting to defuse the trouble.

        It was largely attributed to the volume of alcohol consumed by spectators at the match.

        Murrayfield was excluded from the original draft legislation but police proposed to introduce the alcohol ban at all major sporting venues.

        The Cabinet secretary said careful consideration had been given to the move but it was not “a licence to binge drink”.

        Measures have been put in place to ensure responsible drinking, with stewards having the power to take action against anyone causing a nuisance or making trouble.

        MacAskill added: “This government will also be closely monitoring how this works in practice and we will not hesitate to reintroduce the ban if necessary.”

        The news was warmly welcomed by Scottish Rugby chief executive Gordon McKie.

        “We are committed to growing the game and getting rugby out into all communities,” he said.

        “Any financial benefit gained by the responsible sale of alcohol at Murrayfield will enable us to put even more investment into grass roots including facilities in the community game.

        “We believe sport can play its part in reducing crime and inspiring youngsters through our Scotland players to take up rugby as a priority.”
        My computer thinks I'm gay
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