A REQUEST has been received by the SRU Council from the clubs in National League Division One calling for a 12-month postponement in the implementation of Super 6.
It was put in front of a joint meeting of the SRU Board and Council by National One Council representative Colin Rigby last week, following a discussion at the league’s forum meeting on 17th October, and has now been forwarded to the Standing Committee on Governance, chaired by Gavin McColl QC, which has been charged [after a successful motion from the clubs at August’s AGM] with reviewing league structure and coming up with a workable solution to the current stalemate.
Super 6 is supposed to launch next season but the six participating clubs – Ayr, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s, Melrose, Stirling County and Watsonians – have yet to sign contracts with the SRU. They do, however, continue to present a united front on the merits of this initiative and have been working hard in recent weeks to persuade sceptics to get on board.
A rationale for the National One request was provided, and it is scathing in its assessment of the SRU’s handling of the Super 6 project –
The imposition of Agenda 3 including Super 6 by the Scottish Rugby Union on its member clubs at the 2017 SRU AGM, without proper prior consultation nor approval from the stakeholders, has led to a current situation which we, the National One clubs, deem to be unacceptable.
Players currently playing in SRU administered competitions are unaware of what it is that they are playing for, which destroys the trust between our most important constituents, the players, and those driving the changes that are causing this impasse.
This failure of Governance was recognised by the Scottish Rugby Union at its 2018 AGM when a full governance and structure review was commissioned by then President Rob Flockhart, to be led by Gavin McColl QC. Gavin McColl has since indicated that this review process is likely to take at least two years to conclude and be implemented.
At present, and unless otherwise altered by the clubs at an SGM, a back-stop position of the league competitions continuing in their current form and with promotion and relegation as per past seasons being retained has been communicated to the clubs by the SRU.
However, it has also been stated that the creation of a new league, the Super 6, within the current domestic league structure will go ahead as planned for next season. This decision by the Scottish Rugby Union to proceed with Super 6 regardless, with no impact assessment having been carried out on what the consequences of doing so may be and before the conclusion of the Governance review that the SRU themselves have commissioned, is, in our view, a dereliction of their duty to their stakeholders and puts the future health of Scottish club rugby in unnecessary jeopardy.
Considering [that] the full details of the Super 6 competition itself have still not been concluded, even to the satisfaction of those awarded the franchises, we believe that the only responsible course of action for the Scottish Rugby Union to take at this stage is to postpone Super 6 for a minimum of one season.
This will therefore provide a renewed back-stop position that the leagues will continue as is for a minimum of one more season allowing time for the Gavin McColl governance review to be concluded and for any changes to the domestic league structure to be debated and approved by the member clubs before any impact of Super 6 is felt.
Most importantly, this will give all clubs and players clarity on what it is that they are playing for this season even though this retrospective change is not in line with what many clubs expectations were prior to the season commencing. This provides a far more reasonable solution than having Super 6 imposed and the Club XVs of Super 6 being retained in the Premiership.
Unless, of course, various points with regards to Super 6 can be clarified and approved by way of an SGM vote to the satisfaction of the member clubs ahead of next season, which would allow Super 6 to proceed.
For and on behalf of the National 1 Clubs.
National 1 Council Representative
The Offside Line understands that a number of clubs in National League Two and Three are confident of getting support from their forum to make a similar request, while the ‘forgotten four’ current Premiership clubs not involved in Super 6 are also supportive of the move.
The National One forum meeting on 17th October also discussed, specifically, that thorny issue of where the ‘Club XVs’ of Super 6 teams should play, and the consensus was that these teams should compete in the national reserve leagues – rather than in National One or the Premiership, which are the preferred options of the SRU and the Super 6 clubs. The mood music at the National Two and Three forum meeting the night before was similar.
The clubs will give their verdict on that question by Wednesday, which is the deadline for returning the league structure questionnaire which was issued at the end of September on behalf of the Council Standing Committee on Governance, to aid that group’s review.