PROFESSOR LORNE CRERAR, Chair of the Scottish Rugby Union Board, has issued a statement addressing ongoing concerns about Scottish Rugby’s response to the Siobhan Cattigan tragedy, revealing that the Board is “comforted by the scope, extent and depth of the fact-finding process to date.”
Cattigan’s family have argued that the 26-year-old’s death in November 2021 was a direct consequence of the brain injuries suffered whilst training and playing rugby, which brought about a massive change in her personality akin to dementia. They believe that Scottish Rugby failed in their duty of care to the Scotland forward.
Scottish Rugby have steadfastly resisted calls for an external enquiry into the case but have instructed a “fact finding process” which is being conducted by Pinsent and Masons law firm.
The Custodian Board – which was set up late last year after a governance overhaul to provide oversight of Scottish Rugby’s executive team (who run the business on a day-to-day basis) – recently received a “procedural update” from a representative of Pinsent and Masons on how this investigation is progressing.
The full statement reads:
The newly established Scottish Rugby Union Board of Custodian Directors met recently to discuss player welfare and to receive an update, following the very sad passing of Scotland Women No 8 Siobhan Cattigan.
On the first matter, we received a detailed presentation from Dr James Robson, Scottish Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, on concussion prevention and ongoing areas of intervention and research. It is clear that a huge volume of work is being carried out in this area.
In relation to the tragic loss of Siobhan in November 2021 and the subsequent Sunday Times coverage, first reported in July 2022, Scottish Rugby’s AGM in 2022 referenced that the Board of Scottish Rugby Limited – the operating Board responsible for the day-to-day running of the organisation – would undertake a fact-finding process.
A representative from Pinsent Masons LLP, the external law firm which has been instructed by Scottish Rugby Limited to conduct the fact-finding process, provided a procedural update to us in relation to the work undertaken so far and the current status of the process.
From the update we received, it is clear that this is comprehensive and includes Pinsent Masons having detailed conversations with a large number of people who knew and worked with Siobhan, as well as people in the wider organisation. This process is ongoing. As part of the process an invitation was recently extended to the lawyers of the Cattigan family offering the family the opportunity to take part.
The Scottish Rugby Union Board of Custodian Directors is comforted by the scope, extent and depth of the fact-finding process to date. At the point that Pinsent Masons conclude the fact-finding process, there will be further engagement and communication.
Scottish Rugby remains committed to finding a way to further recognise and honour the memory of Siobhan. Everyone’s thoughts remain with Neil and Morven Cattigan, Ann Taylor, and all of Siobhan’s friends and family.
Our thoughts are also with all Siobhan’s colleagues at Scottish Rugby, our National Women’s team and Stirling County RFC.