THERE will be two candidates in the election for Vice-President of the Scottish Rugby Union at this year’s AGM, which is due to take place on 15th August.
Colin Rigby of Stewart’s Melville and Keith Wallace of Haddington will compete against each other in a vote of member clubs. Current Vice-President Ian Barr will step up to be President at the meeting, replacing Dee Bradbury, who has come to the end of her two year spell in the hot seat.
Discussions are ongoing as to whether the AGM can happen on the scheduled date, and if so in what format that will happen. The ideal scenario is that it goes ahead at Murrayfield as usual, with social distancing measures undertaken to comply with government protocols, although there is a real possibility that it will have to be conducted via some sort of video conference mechanism.
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Rigby represented his club on the National One forum for nine years before joining the Council as the representative for that constituency in 2018. In the same year, he became Honorary Vice President of Stewart’s Melville.
He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management and the Institute of Sales & Marketing (specialising in finance, strategic alliances, risk and compliance), and works as Director of Strategic Alliances and Channel for FISCAL Technologies.
“My thoughts on the game and how it is structured both on and off the park is that we must remember that each and every club faces different challenges and obstacles,” he told clubs, in a communication seeking support for his candidature.
“The potential influx of money coming into the game requires trust and realistic objectives on how this is to be best utilised. If we want our game to be at the forefront of world rugby, we need to change our mind-set, focusing on the development of our domestic game, adopting a more collaborative joined-up approach, promoting effective youth, schools and performance academies. As all three go together our focus must be in developing players for both the domestic game and also identify those suitable for the performance game.”
Wallace is about to start his third year as President of Haddington. He previously served on the Council and Board of the SRU in 2005-06, immediately after the Dunlop review was adopted. He is a Chartered Engineer, a Chartered Director and has a keen interest in corporate governance, having served on the board of a number of companies. He has recently been a vocal critic of the organisation’s governance.
Meanwhile, two motions are known to have been tabled to be voted on at the meeting – there may be more but that has not yet been confirmed.
The first motion we know about, which has been proposed by Glasgow Hawks and seconded by Grangemouth Stags, deals with growing concern amongst member clubs about the culture of excessive secrecy within both the Council and the Board of the Union, and “the adverse effect on good governance this has had”.
If passed, it will ensure member clubs have a right to access formal minutes of Council and fora meetings, and a reasonable expectation to receive full minutes from Board meetings (whilst recognising that there will be redactions in exceptional circumstances for matters of a highly sensitive commercial or legal nature), within 20 working days of each respective meeting.
Also, the current Decision-Making Matrix and Code of Conduct will become the responsibility of the Council and will be suspended subject to immediate review.
The second motion has been proposed by Currie Chieftains and seconded by Glasgow Accies. It deals with the wording of bye-laws 14, 15 and 27, and seeks to assert the authority and responsibility of the Scottish Rugby Council (as the elected representatives of the clubs) to oversee and hold accountable the Scottish Rugby Board.
“The recent release of the Decision-Making Matrix has highlighted areas of concern in the balance of powers between the Council and the Board of Scottish Rugby Union Limited (the Board),” explains the rationale attached to the motion. “These prevent the Council from fulfilling its role and remit in representing the interests of the Union and they could result in conflict or legal dispute, as highlighted in a published response to a question asked during the Gammell & Murray review process.
“The object of this motion is not to restrict the Board nor Executive of Scottish Rugby Union Ltd in the discharge of its responsibilities to the Union: rather, it is to reset the balance of bye-laws 14 and 15 and 27, to allow the Scottish Rugby Council to oversee and review the management and strategic activities of the Board.
“The motion is put forward in the knowledge that the Union’s corporate governance is due for a wider review in the coming period. However, we consider that the issues identified must be addressed as a priority to ensure the operation of an essential element of the Union’s corporate accountability and to facilitate that wider review.”
We have two outstanding men who care for the club game in Scotland.
Maybe so Michael, but one of the fragrant duo has been present at Murrayfield, attached by various means to the coat-tails of the SRU politburo, for some ten years or thereabouts. Mindful of the suggestion that “old ways won’t open new doors” and of the clear and obvious imperative for fundamental change – even before a whole host of new, unexpected and entirely different questions were posed by the Covid-19 pandemic – it is pretty clear that one of these two aspiring V-P’s (eventually going forward to the office of President) needs to possess the right qualities that will enable him to stand alongside and ride shotgun in support of President-elect Ian Barr as he embarks upon a tough 2-year period in the top seat that will inevitably prove transformational and challenging. Continuity will be of the essence, not least in defending the best interests of member clubs against the self-serving, occasionally predatory instincts of the Board and senior executives; in just a year’s time the recently-appointed “long-term establishment” interim chairman of the Board will be replace by a permanent appointee.
Consequently – on the one hand, it is difficult, at first sight, to determine what (if anything meaningful or tangible) Colin Rigby has achieved in all that time to further the interests of the grassroots clubs he has been there to represent. Indeed, throughout that period, we have seen evidence of the SRU ruling elite’s worst and most damning excesses – well covered previously in this august organ…. But, what did we hear from Mr Rigby..? Ok, giving him the benefit of the doubt, he may have been working his socks off behind the scenes, although there is no evidence of any influence or efforts to curb the worst excesses of the the group often referred to as “The Junta” (“politburo” might be more accurate). NDA’s, Keith Russell affair, completely disproportionate CEO remuneration package on top of a contract extension awarded at the hand of a (since-departed) discredited chairman during legal action against the CEO & others for mismanagement, significant Scottish grassroots rugby money thrown at “investments” into clubs in France & USA, disgraceful CEO remarks and behaviour at the 2019 RWC in Japan, the Gammell / Murray “takeover bid”, thoroughly improper corporate & organisational culture totally at odds with the ridiculous weasel words all over Scottish Rugby “As One”, “Respect”, “Leadership”, “Achievement”, “Engagement”, “Enjoyment”, etc….
On the other hand, the well-qualified, long-term rugby club administrator with good past experience of the SRU at both council and board levels, Keith Wallace, has in the past willingly and knowingly accepted a degree of notoriety amongst the Murrayfield junta and its paid-up / paid-off acolytes for publicly standing up, courageously though constructively putting his head above the parapet to challenge the machinations of the governing body’s Board, senior executives and their high-level hired help(!) in different shapes, forms and cost-implications on numerous issues relating to their true motives & intentions, and indeed in relation to various questionable actions in areas of management, governance and finance.
Looks rather like a no-brainer decision for club representatives seeking an able, knowledgeable and effective V-P to plump for Mr Wallace of Haddington RFC come the 2020 AGM vote, however and whenever that takes place!
Both strong candidates.
For me Keith has the right range of skills required in times like these.
The key distinction is that he is a new broom unconnected to what has went on at Murrayfield over the last few years. Indeed he has stood up and called the Exec to account several times.
David – Ian Barr requires to be ratified by the AGM rather than just stepping up.