Scottish Rugby Annual Review reveals significant drop in director emoluments

Salary and benefits for the highest paid director has fallen from £933k to £454k

Scottish Rugby's Chief Executive Mark Dodson at last year's AGM. Image: © Craig Watson -
Scottish Rugby's Chief Executive Mark Dodson at last year's AGM. Image: © Craig Watson -

SCOTTISH RUGBY’S highest paid director – almost certainly Chief Executive Mark Dodson – received total emoluments comprising salary and benefits of £454k for the financial year up to May 31st 2020, down from £933k the previous year.

The aggregate annual emoluments paid to the all the Directors (executive and non-executive) fell from £2.273m to £1.427m during the same period, according to the the organisation’s Annual Review, which was published (without the business’ accounts attached) this evening.

The aggregated fees and salaries figures provided in the report take account of reductions volunteered by the Directors in April 2020 as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Salary reductions remain in place for Directors and a number of senior employees and players at rates dependent on underlying salary level.

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The RFU Annual Report reveals that its Chief Executive, Bill Sweeney, was remunerated £430k last year, while the emoluments of the WRU’s highest paid director was £398k.

The report also provides details of the fees collected by Directors for sitting on Scottish Rugby’s Board and the Boards of other representative bodies, with Colin Grassie – who stepped down as Chairman in May – picking up £33.8k. His successor, John Jeffrey, was not in post long enough to collect any Scottish Rugby Board fees, but the report details £30k paid to him as Chairman of the Six Nations Council and £33.75k as an Executive Committee Member for World Rugby (fees paid by those bodies). The standard Directors fee for a Scottish Rugby non-executive Board Member is £15.5.29k.

We were told last Friday that the accounts would not be ready in time for part two of this year’s AGM, which is scheduled to take place by video conference next Thursday, and there was little more explanation of this in the Annual Review.

“A third stage of the AGM will be called to discuss our financial performance in 2019-20 and outlook for 2020-21 with our stakeholders in more detail and during which our accounts for 2019-20 will be laid before the clubs,” said Dodson, in his section of the report. “Questions focused on our financial position will be welcomed and specific answers given during that meeting, and afterwards for any that need a more detailed response. We will also publish those questions and answers on the website for any members who are unable to attend.

“Meantime, I would like to reassure you that your Board, Council and Executive continue to work together closely, as we have done throughout, to act in the best interests of Scottish Rugby and its stakeholders and in providing as robust a platform as we can to support future recovery, while dealing with the daily challenges that Covid-19 continues to present.”

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. Some of the best Non Execs in business don’t need the money , they do it it out of personal and or professional interest. Why are we paying non executives anything other than expenses or loss of earnings fees?

  2. Iain – not quite sure to make of your “couple of points”…

    1. No national rugby governing body’s accounts are looking good right now, to a greater or lesser extent, dependent upon the effects of the global Covid pandemic. That said, some are managing better than others!

    2. Former RFU CEO Ian Ritchie is now chairman of English Premiership Rugby. He left the RFU 3 years ago, so any comments about his remuneration (which is vastly overshadowed by the amount of SRU CEO Mark Dodson’s overall pay) are past history, and are therefore irrelevant to anything going down at Murrayfield. (Fyi – Ritchie was instrumental in delivering the 2015 Rugby World Cup which generated the RFU £228.1m in revenue, and earned a £100,000 bonus, taking his salary that year to £700,000.)

  3. Couple of points. The RFU accounts don’t look to clever. Ian Ritchie CEO 2017 received over £700k

  4. From the wording of this communication, it appears they are seeking to avoid discussion of finances at AGM2 next week – hoping for some reason to defer all that until the 3rd part of this year’s AGM, some time in December….

    Why so….??? Thoughts, anyone?

  5. Hmmm before Dodson joined we had no money, debt was high and there was virtually no priority given to the pro teams.Someone driving higher levels of performance, will always be paid more and yes for a tiny country with tiny rugby support he has done really well. The RFU is going bankrupt, The Welsh RFU cannot support the regions. The Irish have done a fabulous job but they don’t have to compete with a football mad nation for support and resources.

  6. These Muppets in charge at SRU are on another planet.
    In it for themselves not for the rugby community in Scotland

  7. Alasdair, they either can see how others perceive them and don’t give a damn or they are too stupid to notice.

    Either way makes them unfit for office.

  8. Tsk. Poor souls are probably struggling to get by in these tough times…
    As others have suggested, this continues to be a national disgrace.
    Rugby in Scotland is clearly massively under resourced compared to other top tier nations. With only two pro teams who cannot begin to compete financially with those in e.g Ireland and a national squad that has massively underachieved for two decades, this is grossly out of proportion. Can they really just not see how people perceive it? Add this to the recent ticket scheme nonsense for Murrayfield and it’s like they’re fiddling while their empire burns.

  9. If anyone thinks this is acceptable for her size of the union, and country that we are, then we are truly lost. There are three key aspects of being involved legally, morally, and professionally as a director, and these are there to ensure that trust is consistently upheld…

    Can anyone say that they trust what is going on right now?

    Is there any real transparency?

    Why are the business accounts not publishable? What’s the reason? That, in any business, is a breach of duty.

    When will they be available?

    None of this is forthcoming, and in their usual arrogant style, they think that its acceptable. I won’t be contributing another penny to that org. as long as this behaviour continues.

  10. Dodsons Salary in 2018 was 455k so his salary hasn’t dropped at all. 2019 was an anomaly due to a deferred bonus scheme.

    Given all this talk about the game struggling financially in Scotland it looks like the remuneration committee couldn’t care less.

    SRU at the highest levels are still pigs at the trough. Rotten to the core.

  11. RFU CEO on a lower salary of 430K despite RFU turnover averaging about 10 x the SRU turnover.

    RFU CEO in 2019 got 572K compared to Dodsons 933K.

    So last 2 financial years the Dodson has received 1,387K compared to RFU total of 1,002K.


  12. Dodsons salary was 455K in 2018. 2019 was simply a long term bonus that bumped his figures. Who’s to say he won’t get more bonus’ deferred for the years ahead.

    His salary has not taken a hit at all and is still way to high along with other directors! Compare our turnover and salaries relative to that to other home nations and its a sickening that this could happen.

    – Edinburgh’s new stadium is well short of what they deserve because of a ‘lack of funds’.

    – We have lost Russell, Hogg, Gray at pro level due to ‘lack of funds’

    – The lack of depth and quality signings in Edinburgh’s and Glasgow is due to ‘lack of funds.’

    – SRU still rotten to the very core. Grassie went but we need more to follow.

    We are squandering the best talent we have in a generation.

    SRU at the highest levels are nothing but pigs at the trough.


  13. Dodson’s pay remains at an excessively high level, relative to CEO counterparts elsewhere in rugby.

    Jeffrey looks to be in line for something like £100K p.a. from his three – three! – probably conflicted senior positions in different rugby governing bodies.

  14. There’s actually a great deal of detail on this review about the bonus scheme, which in previous years has been very much cloak and dagger.

    If I read it correctly, the LTIP bonus scheme has been ended early. Anyone care to clarify.

  15. Review states:

    “Core salary reductions agreed with Executive Directors sit in a range of headline rates from 20% to 30%, depending on underlying salary level.

    Salary reductions remain in place for Directors and a number of senior employees and players for FY20/21 at headline rates dependent on underlying salary level.”

  16. Interesting they have published highest paid director emoluments in this “Review”. In previous years when they have not been included, we’ve been told there is no legal obligation – they only have to be in the accounts published at Companies House.

    Guess they think we’ll buy no bonus payment as being good news (however “payment of these awards has been delayed to future dates”).

  17. No, remuneration reductions simply reflect the fact that the directors were bunged large long term incentives.
    I’m not sure the numbers reflect any significant concession on the part of the directors. No surprise there- you hear the sound of the four Neros’ violins as Rome burns!
    Given the complete horlivka with communications I’d have thought the Director responsible for that should take a hit!


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