Compromise reached in World Rugby versus SRU stand-off

SRU express regret but don't apologise and pay a donation but not a fine, while all mention of dsicplinary process has been dropped from final statement

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson's public appeal for the national team's crucial World Cup pool match against Japan to go ahead prompted a disciplinary hearing brought by the global game's governing body. Image: © Craig Watson -
SRU chief executive Mark Dodson's public appeal for the national team's crucial World Cup pool match against Japan to go ahead prompted a disciplinary hearing brought by the global game's governing body. Image: © Craig Watson -

A COMPROMISE agreement to end the stand-off between the SRU and World Rugby over the fall-out from the Typhoon Hagibis affair has been reached.

A short statement issued by the global governing body this [Thursday] morning said –

World Rugby can confirm that the Scottish Rugby Union has expressed its regret and has confirmed it will not challenge World Rugby further on this matter.

The Scottish Rugby Union has agreed to pay a donation of £70,000 to World Rugby and the matter is now closed. There will be no further comment from either party.

This appears to be a common sense solution to a bitter and unnecessary spat which occurred when World Rugby took umbrage at the SRU’s decision to go public with their request that Scotland’s crucial World Cup pool clash against Japan last month should be moved rather than cancelled if Typhoon Hagibis rendered the scheduled venue in Yokohama unplayable.

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Tournament organisers Rugby World Cup Limited – the wholly owned subsidiary of World Rugby – referred the matter to a World Rugby disputes panel the following week, and the SRU questioned at that time the appropriateness of that course of action.

After three weeks of deliberation, the disputes panel issued its judgement last Thursday, with the SRU being publicly reprimanded, ordered to apologise and slapped with a £70,000 fine.

The SRU immediately indicated that they were unlikely to take these sanctions lying down, and suggested that they were willing to push for the case to be heard by the Court of Arbitration in Sport [CAS] – the Swiss-based quasi-judicial body established to settle disputes related to sport.

The SRU were particularly unhappy that the disputes panel had conflated their desire to have the game go ahead at a different venue with a lack of empathy for the human impact of the typhoon.

It is notable that World Rugby’s statement relates that the SRU have “expressed regret” rather than apologised [they have never denied that it was a regrettable situation to find themselves in], that the SRU have paid a “donation” rather than a fine, and that any mention of the disciplinary process has been dropped from this final statement.

Scottish Rugby unlikely to take World Cup sanction lying down


About David Barnes 4002 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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. Dodson gets a hard time on this forum, in my view he did what was required at the time. We needed someone to go into bat and he stood up, could he have handled it better, absolutely. The world cup year is always a tricky year financially but I’m sure it’ll be offset once we sell our soul to cvc.

    • So what was required at the time? To rush to the media and claim your lawyer was better than the WR one?

      The CEO’s of governing bodies should be like refs. Best unnoticed. Mr Dodson has a magnetic attraction to conflict and belligerence. Perhaps that explains why he gets a hard time.

    • To Dom from Don, it was an extremely unfortunate set of circumstances and in my view what was required was the application of pressure, which is what he did, the only thing wrong was his tone of voice. CEO’s across many sectors stand up and apply political pressure via the media, it’s their job to take accountability (see the BT boss this week).

      I’ve got no love of Dodson but no agenda either.

    • No disagreement, just different people making different points which is healthy. I’ve not accused anyone of having an agenda, just stating I don’t have one. Let’s keep it friendly, I love the chat on this site, just wish we had contributions from more people.

    • Fair enough, looks like the pro14 cvc deal is done. It’s probably good for the pro 14 as the league needs investment but would be a disaster if the took a stake in the 6 nations. Any thoughts.

    • With regard to the CVC money in England it is being welcomed with open arms by the clubs who are almost all heavily in debt. However the concern is they will end up using the money to write off their debts and carry on as before in which case there will be little benefit. In addition there are concerns about what CVC will want for their money – moving games to other broadcasting platforms, moving matches to other countries etc etc.

      I don’t follow Formula One but those I know that do suggest CVC investment did very little for their sport and my fears are the same will be true of rugby.

      I agree with you that for the 6N it would be a disaster with games almost certainly disappearing from terrestrial TV.

    • Agreed, 6 nations on sky or bt would kill what’s currently special about the tournament. It needs to be available to all or it’ll end up like cricket.

  2. Dom

    The accounts will also show a big hole in revenue since there is usually a c£3m dip in a World Cup year, further presumably our budgeted share of WC will be smaller since we failed to make the quarters, then on top of this we have the £70k “donation”. With last year’s accounts showing the lowest Profit before interest and tax since before Gordon McKie, it will indeed be interesting to see what the bottom line is.

    As for the badly drafted note sent to Clubs on this topic I think that the claim:
    “The feedback from all these groups has been overwhelmingly positive in respect of our measured stance.”
    is more accurately reflected in the sentiment here:

    “Salt into the wound. Scotland accept fine for pre-Hagibis World Cup comments
    The Scottish Rugby Union has accepted a fine for comments made at the Rugby World Cup in relation to the potential cancellation of their match against Japan in Yokohama due to Typhoon Hagibis.

    Read in FOX SPORTS Australia:

    As I said, at best a dishonourable draw.

  3. Can feel a question coming on for the AGM – why have Scottish Rugby made a £70k donation to World Rugby.

  4. Indeed Dom, at best this could be viewed as a dishonourable draw.
    Quite what the benefits envisaged from the tactic of washing dirty linen in public was we will never know, unless it is in the book.
    A pretty dishonourable period with the treatment of Stuart Cameron another in a long line of fine examples.
    Could be a lengthy book.

  5. I eagerly await Mark Dodsons new book. How to win friends and influence people. I know I know there already is a book with this title. But Marks is the fully updated version.

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