MARK DODSON’S contact as chief executive of the Scottish Rugby Union has been extended to run until after the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. His previous five-year contract was signed in 2015, and still had two years to run.
“It was important we continue the excellent momentum Scottish Rugby is generating at this time and as a Board we felt it was right for Mark to see through the exciting projects we are developing and provide valuable continuity,” said Scottish Rugby Chairman Colin Grassie in a press release issued by the governing body this [Wednesday] afternoon by the governing body.
“As the scale of the business grows it is vital there is strong, proactive leadership to ensure all the respective departments and teams are functioning to their maximum and we progress at all levels of the game.”
Scotland have risen to fifth in the world rankings since Dodson’s arrival at Murrayfield in 2011. The Under-20 team finished fifth at last summer Junior World Championship, and although they managed only one win during this year’s age-grade Six Nations, that solitary success was over a highly-rated England outfit. The BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academies have established a track record of producing payers ready to move quickly into the professional game and challenge for international honours.
The SRU’s turnover has grown to £51.4 million and debt has dropped to an average level of £5.2 million in 2016/17.
Dodson is currently spearheading a controversial scheme to create a new tier in the Scottish rugby structure called Super 6, which will sit above the domestic game and below the two full-time professional clubs. Any Scottish club wishing to take on a franchise is required to place their bid by Saturday.
Super 6 is part of a wider reaching programme called Agenda 3 programme which has a stated aim of increasing club sustainability at grassroots level, largely by enforcing strict prohibition on the payment of players.
“I was delighted to accept the Board’s offer to lead Scottish Rugby through to the 2023 Rugby World Cup,” said Dodson. “I think we have made good progress in recent years and I am excited by the challenges that remain ahead.
“It was, for me, the right decision to stay on and continue to develop this outstanding organisation. I am fortunate to lead an incredibly talented workforce who are hugely committed to developing rugby at all levels of the game.
“We have put ourselves in a very strong position to develop the game in Scotland. It has taken some time to stabilise the organisation, but I feel we can now continue to move forward and ensure the future of the sport is both truly successful and more importantly sustainable.”
Scottish Rugby President Rob Flockhart endorsed the decision to extend Dodson’s tenure at Murrayfield.
“I have worked with Mark closely over the past two years. I am delighted he has agreed to continue in his role through to 2023,” he said.
“I know how passionate he is for rugby in Scotland to be a success, at all levels of the game. I think it is important there will be clear continuity in the coming years at Chief Executive level. There are ambitious plans in place to develop the infrastructure of the club game. I am pleased Mark will have the opportunity to see them through.”
Several other senior figures inside the organisation took to social media to welcome Dodson’s contract extension.
“Great news for @Scotlandteam #AsOne,” said Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby’s chief operating officer.
“Excellent news that Mark Dodson’s contract has been extended until 2023 #AsOne,” said Glasgow Warriors media manager Jeremy Bone.
“Always really enjoyed working with Mark, great news for Scottish Rugby,” said Al Kellock, the former Glasgow Warriors and Scotland captain, who is now a business development manager and ambassador for the SRU.