Part two of 2020 SRU AGM scheduled for 26th November

Biggar and Dalkeith submit request for an SGM which will address their blocked promotions to be held immediately after AGM

Murrayfield Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson -
Murrayfield Stadium. Image: © Craig Watson -

THE second section of the Scottish Rugby Union’s 2020 Annual General Meeting [AGM2] will take place on Thursday 26th November at 6pm via video conference call.

The meeting was initially split in two this year so that key house-keeping business such as electing a Vice President and ratifying the new President could be dealt with in a timely manner via video conference on 15th August, while other business such as the two motions which had been proposed by clubs to deal with concerns about Murrayfield’s accountability to stakeholders could be dealt with at a later date when it was anticipated that all delegates could be in the same room to discuss the issues at hand – but it has become increasingly apparent in recent weeks that this is not going to be possible any time in 2020.

Therefore, part two of the meeting will go ahead next month on the Lumi virtual meeting platform, clubs were told in a letter signed by the Scottish Rugby Union’s Secretary, Robert Howat, yesterday.

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In response to this, Biggar and Dalkeith rugby clubs have submitted their request, with over 24 peters of support from fellow member clubs, for a Special General Meeting on the same video conference platform immediately after AGM2, to challenge the decision to block their respective promotions from National One to the Premiership and from East League Two to East League Three, despite both clubs having already earned enough league points during the 2019-20 season to be guaranteed promotion by the time lockdown arrived.

“We have been patiently waiting all this time for the SRU’s AGM part two in the hope that it would be an in person event,” explained Biggar Secretary Mike Booth. “However, with this evening’s announcement that it would be an online meeting, we still hope that the SGM can be organised to be held directly after the AGM completion using the same online forum.

“This should mean that our SGM will be quorate and our motion will be heard by as many clubs as possible. We are not sure yet if we will be able to speak in support of our motion but we hope that as many clubs as possible will attend the SGM whichever way they intend to vote.

“We would like to thank Robert Howat for his assistance whilst we have been waiting.”

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The first motion to be discussed and voted on at AGM2 has been proposed by Glasgow Hawks and seconded by Grangemouth Stags. It deals with concern amongst member clubs about the culture of excessive secrecy at both Council and the Board level 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.

The motion also calls for the controversial Decision-Making Matrix and Code of Conduct, which govern how Murrayfield office holders interact with the outside world, to 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.”

Scottish Rugby also pushed back the publication of their Annual Report (which should include an abridged version of the’ accounts for the year ending 31st May 2020) when the AGM was split in two, on the basis that these papers would be made available ahead of the second part of the meeting. There was no mention of when this paperwork will finally be made available in yesterday’s communication from Murrayfield.

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About David Barnes 3672 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.

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