Premiership clubs warn against devaluing the club game

Proposals for a reduction in the support given by the SRU to the top flight of club rugby have not gone down well

The threat that Premiership referees would not be assisted by neutral touch-judges appears to have subsided. Image: © Craig Watson -

PREMIERSHIP club officials have expressed concern about the prospect of a substantial package of cutbacks in SRU support for the league.

These proposals include: the SRU ceasing to supply camera people to record and upload matches for analysis purposes; clubs being responsible for purchasing the equipment required for ref mics; and clubs being asked to pay for the privilege of having their matches shown on the SRU’s YouTube highlights programme.

A proposal to halt the provision of neutral Assistant Referees [touch-judges] appears to have been shelved for Premiership matches, but is still on the cards for National One, meaning that competing clubs will have to supply one touch-judge each for every match during the season.

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The back story to this is the creation of a new, elite Super 6 league to sit above the club game, with central resources inevitably being diverted in that direction.

However, Currie Chieftains President Phil Thomas –who is Chairman of the Premiership forum – stressed the importance of maintaining standards below Super 6, arguing that it is vital to the future health of the game in this country to have a coherent player development pathway and as broad a base as possible for performance-focussed rugby.

“My view – and this will be reflected across the Premiership – is that we need to be developing the standards and the product quality of the club rugby offering, and the SRU should have a corresponding aim,” he said. “This is, or should be, a key SRU objective and any movement in the opposite direction would seem to be misjudged.”

An SRU spokesperson explained that talks are ongoing with no final decisions made yet, and stressed that the governing body is committed to supporting club rugby at all levels.

A formal communication from the SRU is expected before the end of the month.

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About David Barnes 3288 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.


  1. Who could have possibly seen this coming? It’s almost as if the SRU have a bit of a cash problem and S6 means less elsewhere.

    I don’t recall any mention of consequences of this sort at the AGMs or SGM.

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