New SRU governance structure is approved by overwhelming majority

Professor Lorne Crerar CBE will be interim Chair of the new company limited by guarantee

Professor Lorne Crerar will be the interim chair of the new company limited by guarantee which has been set-up to oversee Scottish Rugby
Professor Lorne Crerar will be the interim chair of the new company limited by guarantee which has been set-up to oversee Scottish Rugby

AT long last, Scottish rugby got a new governance structure earlier this evening when a Special General Meeting of member clubs voted by an overwhelming majority [97.89%] in favour of the SRU Council’s Standing Committee on Governance [SCOG] proposals which have been painstakingly drawn-up over the last two years. Immediate past president Ian Barr – the driving force behind the review which led to this point – called it a “line in the sand” moment.

The new structure will involve the creation of a company limited by guarantee [CLG] consisting of eight unpaid ‘Custodians’ – who will as a matter of law be classified as Directors with all the consequent statutory duties and obligations – which will oversee the work of the operating arm of the game known as ‘Scottish Rugby Limited’ (ie the current Board).

This seismic change in how the game in this country is ultimately run is the result of a series of governance failures in 2018 and 2019 which caused serious anxiety about whether the current Board had ceased to be in tune and accountable to the Union’s membership.


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“It has been a bit of a marathon and at times it has been challenging, but Scottish Rugby needed and deserved a governance review and then a new structure, which will allow us to go forward working collaboratively,” said Barr.

He then turned his attention to Professor Lorne Crerar CBE, the Glasgow lawyer who became Independent Chair of SCOG last December, and who has now assumed the position of Interim Chair of the new company.

“I am absolutely delighted that Lorne has brought this to life, and I think we’ve got an opportunity here to draw a line in the sand and to move forward together,” he said.

“Scottish Rugby’s logo is ‘AsOne’ and I think that is something we should aspire to in moving forward. I think this new structure will bring that clarity, it will bring that transparency, openness, honesty, integrity, all those values that we all think Scottish Rugby should have had for a long time.

“I‘m really looking forward to it,” added Barr, who will be one of the first ‘Custodians’. “There will not be much time for resting. It was hard work to get to this point, and a different type of hard work now starts to get everything in place so that member clubs are well represented at all times.”

The SGM was hosted by current President Colin Rigby, who will also be a Custodian alongside Crerar, Barr as immediate past President, current Vice-President Keith Wallace, two members elected by the clubs and two individuals selected with the assistance of recruitment consultants

Rigby said: “The governance process has been a long and evolving road to arrive at today’s outcome. This is a significant milestone in the history of the Scottish Rugby Union, where all stakeholders now have clarity around governance, roles and responsibility.

“May I thank Professor Lorne Crerar, Chair of SCOG, the SCOG team, the current Council and their predecessors for their time, expertise and diligence in arriving at the submissions that you [the club delegates] have now democratically chosen.”

Crerar added: “As Chair of the new custodian company, Scottish Rugby Union, I will make sure that all the promises for a new, well-functioning governance system will absolutely be delivered.

“In anticipation of a positive vote tonight, preparations are already under way to commence the recruitment of two non-executive Custodian directors through the member network and a further two by way of external recruitment agencies. You [member clubs] will all shortly receive information for identifying candidates and their important role in the oversight of the operations of rugby in Scotland. I would ask that you help us find and encourage the very best talent for Custodian positions. The roles are a privileged insight into the operations and brand of Scottish Rugby and a very important way to contribute to the well being and prosperity of rugby in Scotland which is so important to all of us.”

Launch date for the new structure is 1st November.

Immediately before the online SGM, the second part of the SRU’s AGM unanimously approved the 2022 accounts.


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About David Barnes 3112 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he 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.

7 Comments

  1. Taking a sceptical stance, a SCOG “home run” remains incomplete, and may ultimately prove problematical, despite overwhelming approval of SCOG recommendations. Don’t bet the house on a smooth run in to the tape!

    Pending finalisation of the RMA (intended to determine the effective interaction between CLG & SRUL that every right-minded person would wish) there is still time and opportunity for obstructive mischief-making and difficulties from the SRU’s “usual suspects” who may yet reveal their true colours.

  2. “Collectives of good people can make even a defective corporate structure operate effectively, whilst – regrettably – the converse is equally true….”

    What is the quality of those we now see at the top of Scottish Rugby?

    Go figure!

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  3. A new or indeed any governance structure is much needed and should be welcomed.

    It does not of course resolve the issue of those whose actions in the last few years have made this so necessary still being in office.

    For an organisation to move on from consistent failure those responsible need to be removed from office not allowed to continue in the hope they will do better if properly managed.

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    • Indeed so, AlanJ.

      “Collectives of good people can make even a defective corporate structure operate effectively, whilst – regrettably – the converse is equally true….”

      What is the quality of those we now see at the top of Scottish Rugby? Therein lies the answer.

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  4. This is good news and much credit is due to Ian Barr for steering this through the many obstacles that were put in the way of SCOG.

    Lorne Crerar can also be applauded for breaking through the impasse and showing what was possible.

    Hopefully this does draw a line under the past controversies and we can move on to concentrate on the real pressing issues in the game. Not least of which is the high postponement rate and the struggles in the mens game fir players.

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