THE bid documents for clubs wishing to throw their hat into the ring to take on a Super 6 franchise will be issued today [Wednesday 20th December]. They will be emailed to all of the SRU’s member clubs and also be made available on the SRU website.
Interested parties will be invited to complete a questionnaire to be returned to Murrayfield and then discussed informally between the responding club and an ‘executive team’ from the SRU, who will provide advice and guidance on anything more the applicant can do to support their case.
The final application form must be completed and submitted along with any additional supporting evidence by 30th March.
Thereafter, representatives from each proposed franchise will be interviewed by a panel consisting of both SRU and independent personnel, before this group of assessors announces the six successful candidates on 1st May 2018.
The chosen franchises will have over a year to get themselves organised before the new league launches for the 2019-20 season, with the first round of matches scheduled for 7th September 2019.
In an interview with The Offside Line last month, SRU chief executive Mark Dodson insisted that he is confident of receiving more than six applications, but added that if there is not enough interest then the governing body will “form a syndicate ourselves”.
Initial feedback on the Super 6 information pack which was issued last month has been lukewarm (at best), with a number of the clubs thought to be best placed to take this bold step expressing concern that the financial commitment they will have to shoulder has been underestimated, and also worried that they are going to have to surrender too much autonomy.
Other issues include whether there is going to be a meaningful season structure, the impact on the rest of the club game of creating a whole new tier and ring-fencing the country’s top 210 non full-time professional players, and the lack of clarity on the SRU’s ambitions to buy into an English Premiership club.
Billy McHarg, the long-serving president and treasurer of current Scottish champions Ayr RFC, announced earlier this week that he plans to step down from both positions at the end of the season, largely because of his misgivings about the Super 6 concept.
Dodson is keen on building links with Scotland’s universities, with Aberdeen and Dundee both being linked to possible franchise partnerships with local clubs, but there are doubts that this project will provide sufficient value to higher education institutions in terms of boosting their profile and attracting students to make it worth their while.