Scottish Rugby announce ‘financial reset programme’ and targets breakeven by 2025-26

Second consecutive loss of circa £10.5m expected for the 2023-24 financial year

Significant investment on Murrayfield Stadium is key part of plans for a healthier financial future for Scottish Rugby. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Significant investment on Murrayfield Stadium is key part of plans for a healthier financial future for Scottish Rugby. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTTISH RUGBY have announced the start of a ‘financial reset programme’ which they say will get the organisation to a breakeven position by the 2025-26 financial year, following an operating loss of £10.5m during the 12 months up to the end of May 2023, which is expected to be repeated in the 2024 financial year (which ran for 13 months to the end of June following a change in the cut-off date).

As reported by The Offside Line on Friday, 35 jobs are at risk of redundancy as part of restructuring programme, and it has been confirmed that there is a freeze on recruitment apart from a new CEO and a new performance director. There is no plan for the time being to appoint a permanent Chief Financial Officer, following the departure from the business of Hilary Spence in February.

Oliver Colling  – Turnaround & Transformation Director for the company Kingsgate – is currently providing financial consultancy support to the Board and executive team at Murrayfield.


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Meanwhile, today’s update stated that pro team investment for the coming season has not been touched. No indication has been given on how Edinburgh, Glasgow Warriors and indeed national team budgets will be impacted from season 2025-26, with Scottish Rugby’s success in hitting ambitious revenue-raising targets likely to be a determining factor on that matter.

The update also promised “capital investment for stadium improvements and development to improve customer experience and revenue opportunities through increased hospitality offerings”, although no detail of what that will look like and cost is available at the moment.

Scottish Rugby ended the financial year with cash reserves of £16m, largely thanks to a £20m government Covid bail-out in December 2020 plus the sale of a 28 percent stake in the URC for “north of £20 million” in May 2020 and a 14 percent stake in the Six Nations for up to £44.5m in March 2021 to CVC Partners private equity house. The organisation will receive a further £7.4m from CVC in July from the Six Nations deal, and the final tranche of £7m next year.

According to the press release: “The financial reset provides a pathway to profitability in the 2026-27 financial year following c.£10m losses in each of the last two accounting periods (the 23-24 year being a 13-month period).

“A significantly reduced loss, projected to be around £3.1m in the 2024-25 financial year is expected to be followed by a breakeven position in financial year 2025-26 and a return to profit in the following year. At the end of financial year 2026-27, cash reserves are forecast to be consistent with the current position.”

It added:  “A review of headcount in every Scottish Rugby department, in light of the reprioritisation of activities and financial reset, has identified around 35 positions as being potentially removed with a collective consultation due to commence shortly for roles at risk of redundancy. No outcomes have been predetermined and all proposals already shared with our employees are subject to the consultation process.

“Any new external recruitment has been paused during the collective consultation process, with the exception of the CEO and Performance Director roles.

“Player recruitment for both Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors is unaffected for the forthcoming season.

“The organisation’s cash position is forecast to remain strong through the next four-year cycle with the delivery of various commercial initiatives and cost reduction measures providing the necessary headroom to support better financial sustainability.

“The reset plan and accompanying budget were reviewed by independent financial experts and agreed by Scottish Rugby Limited Board on 21st June and the Scottish Rugby Union Board on 27th June.

“Other outcomes put forward through the financial reset may see significant elements of the male and female pathways realigned with the Rugby Development department, providing improved connection between the grassroots game and the two Pro Teams.

“These proposed changes are all subject to the collective consultation and if agreed, will be delivered through a new regional and area model that will better connect the game at all levels.

 

 

“Significant funds will be allocated for investment in Scottish Gas Murrayfield over the next two financial years to cover essential remedial and customer improvement works and also to create additional revenue streams through an enhanced hospitality offer.”

Scottish Rugby Limited Chair, John McGuigan said: “The financial sustainability of Scottish Rugby is our absolute priority as it enables all the other things we aspire to do to work. We have taken proactive steps to achieve this and the Scottish Rugby Limited Board will continue to keep our financial position at the forefront of its decision-making.

“We tasked our Executive team to reprioritise resources, so we can follow our planned strategy for future investment and growth. This will be challenging in the short-term, but necessary. For our sport and business to grow we have taken the difficult, but we believe the right, and responsible approach to secure the longer-term future of our game. This reset is critical to realise the ambitions we are committed to as part of our strategy.

“It has been an incredibly difficult decision to propose that a number of our people might have to leave the business. I’d like to acknowledge and thank everyone for their contribution to Scottish Rugby to date and reassure those whose roles may be affected that we will manage this process with care and compassion.”

Scottish Rugby Union Chair, Professor Lorne Crerar CBE said: “The principal purpose of the SRU Custodian Board is to ensure the health and wellbeing of Scottish Rugby for the current generation and those to follow.

“It is clear that the journey of the operations of Scottish Rugby, as manifested by the £10.5M loss, disclosed in our 2022/23 Annual Accounts, had to fundamentally change course.

“Much work has been done to develop a strategy for the next 10 years which will transform the way the organisation works and ensure Scottish Rugby’s impact on future generations both on and off the pitch. A cornerstone of that strategy is to build a robust financial position upon which to build the future.

“The strategy and aligned budget plans for financial year 2024/25 have been endorsed and supported at the recent SRU Board meeting at which the external advisors were also present to provide support and answer questions in relation to the key components of the budgetary outcomes.

“Although the challenges going forward for Scottish Rugby are significant, we have every confidence in John McGuigan and his colleagues on Scottish Rugby Limited Board to navigate these difficulties grounded upon the new strategy and operational budget for financial year 2024/25 and beyond. The proposed loss of colleagues in this evolving process is deeply upsetting for all involved in Scottish Rugby and underpinning the approach will be principles of fairness and empathy.

“Going forward, progress towards budgeting and strategic objectives will be carefully monitored and regularly reported to the Clubs and stakeholders of Scottish Rugby.”

Scottish Rugby President, Colin Rigby said: “In common with others, Scottish Rugby has faced significant financial challenges in recent times. In light of this situation, the Scottish Rugby Limited Board has made the difficult decision to reset our financial approach, fully supported and endorsed by the SRU Board. Our primary goal is to ensure the long-term viability and growth of Scottish Rugby.

“We understand that this process may have implications for some of our colleagues and we are committed to handling this period sensitively and respectfully.

“Our priority remains securing the future of the Scottish Rugby for generations to come, while minimising the impact on our colleagues and key stakeholders.”


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About David Barnes 4026 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.

71 Comments

  1. The debate on spending reductions seems to have hit a few nerves.

    Sadly the SRU are in a survival situation. Expenditure way ahead of income. Growing revenues can’t come quickly enough to bridge the gap. Therefore significant cost reductions are required. These cannot be realised by deeper cuts in one area while others are protected. That means all areas of the game need to share the pain.

    With regard to the Womens game, it is instructive to look at football. The WSL posted record revenues last year of £48M and also increased their losses to £21M over the same period.

    Professional rugby is uneconomic. Our pro set up spends £15.5M more than it earns. Womens rugby won’t magically change that equation, indeed it’s likely to substantially increase it.

    These are all rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. We need a sustainable SRU to be able to support these pro teams of which ever gender and that requires immediate and significant cuts in our spending profile.

  2. A sad state of affairs which has been widely predicted on this forum since the big bonuses were announced several years ago and possibly before. Partly goes to show how impotent widely spread
    stakeholders can be when dealing with such a Board. At least until the money runs out when stronger forces takeover.

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  3. My reply to Iain Milne’s comment at 13:40 today also seems to have been lost could it be some clever AI-Blocker installed at EH12?
    Please consider all my comments and specifically at 12:56 today, I am not, as others have noticed, advocating no funding for women’s rugby nor have I suggest reducing it, although I consider that whatever is spent should not be ‘Top Loaded’ the Club and Grassroots should be addressed, a factor you seem to suggest when you comment “I have seen the benefits woman’s rugby can bring to the club house both socially and economically”
    I specifically disagree with your position of increasing or heavy funding AT THIS STAGE OF DEBT at the SRU whilst attempting to obtain financial stability, but as I have said other views are available however the only way to change someone’s position is by arguing with facts, not hopes of what could or possibly could not be, and I would hope to persuade you, and others, that now is not the time for speculative projects.
    As for your assertion of ‘failing to grasp Sponsorship and Advertising’: for many reasons you could not be further from the truth, and as I said the principal is you get the money in from Sponsorship and Advertising first and use their money to invest not your own by going further into debt.

  4. My response to Iain Milne’s comment [1.7.24@11.21pm] seems to have been lost in the ether however to repeat myself, I am curious to know, just what is ‘heavy’ investment, and as regards the ‘income’ aspect I rather suggest if there is £1,000 profit on the gate but it has cost you £10,000 to get it, that isn’t a profit.
    Are you suggesting the heavy investment takes precedence over any aspect of financial stability?
    The robbing Paul to pay Paula is, and has to be, seen as a drain to what brings the money in at the present, there is no way that any commercial operation that is in debt would look at ‘heavy’ investment in an area that offers more expenditure than income in the short/medium term.
    In any event just where is the ‘real’ evidence that ‘heavy’ investment in women’s rugby will be the saviour of the Men’s game?
    And before the usual suspects start hitting the keyboard with the usual ‘misogynist’ character assassination, I am not, in my opinion myself and many others are pointing out the priorities.
    Steady the Ship and when there is money to invest in a niche minority aspect of the game then consider the investment.
    The primary aim for Scottish Rugby is first and foremost to reduce the debt and move into profit, and that means if it doesn’t pay its way it has to at least be held in abeyance.
    As ever other views are available, but stick to the realistic ones that brings the debt down now or at least as soon as realistically possible.

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  5. Whilst reading of further significant losses is never good news, their downward trend plus healthy cash reserves with more cash to come (even if it is from the sale of family silver) softens the blow a bit. But of course, one swallow does not a summer bring.

    Having taken the time to sleep on both the original EH12 statement and this article, I wonder if there’s actually more to be gleaned from reading between the lines here than merely consuming the printed word.

    Firstly, this seems to be the first joint announcement in many a moon-cycle from both our Chairs suggesting that the worst of whatever difficulties Ian Barr’s “governance” structure had in getting bedded-in might be behind us. And, that’s gotta be a good thing for everybody, no? The “blazerati” charge is just an old and tired trope: these are serious people after all, with serious reputations at stake whatever one might think of them personally.

    Secondly, whilst I myself doubt the wisdom of any organisation adopting a 10 year strategic plan, a 2 year one to get us back onto something like an even financial keel seems more plausible even if we’re light on the detail. Thirdly, the fact that this statement has been made at all (together with its timing, so far ahead of our AGM) is, I think, a cause for cautious optimism. Can anyone seriously imagine the Junta doing something remotely similar? Perhaps, just perhaps, the need for transparency and meaningful communication is now being taken just a little more seriously in the Big Hoose.

    Fourth, there’s going to be a “reprioritisation” of activities within the Rugby Development dept. Personally, I have no detailed knowledge of exactly what it is SRL employees do out in the regions, but if a club official has told me once that there are too many of them seemingly just spending time ticking boxes, I’ve heard it a thousand times. So perhaps a cull is what’s needed so long as it’s coupled with a reorganisation of how RDD WILL respond to the needs of clubs moving forward.

    Fifth, we’re told that our Exec team were tasked with “reprioritising resources” (sic.,) to get us all collectively onto a new starting line, a fresh new attitude from them that I’d suggest promises much. For it tells me that IF they’ve had the smarts to do just that, then just mibee, just mibee we’ve turned a corner, and that the incongruous and overbearing attitude toward member clubs that we’re all so used to from Murrayfield is at last changing. Wouldn’t it actually be a good thing for us all to turn up for our metaphorical bacon roll and actually think “you know what boys and girls, you did a good job this year” instead of being presented with and trying to decipher in short order the usual management-speak and gobbledygook?

    However, before I’m accused of coming over all dewy-eyed, this statement does not address one very big elephant in the room – the current years CRB / domestic rugby budget. Does anyone know what it is?

    The Relationship Management Agreement approved by member clubs – the document governing the relationship between our SRU and the SRL – provides that the budget for the domestic game should be equivalent to at least 15% of SRL’s (4 year averaged) revenues. If that too, along with “redundancies”, is to be sacrificed on the “reset alter”, then hell mend the bold person who thinks he / she can come along to the AGM in November and, a la TCD, wave a wand, present a fait accompli and assume member clubs will supinely comply.

    Every member of the CRB knows what SRUL / SRL turnover was in each of the last 4 years, and they can presumably apply a calculator to work what 15% of that equates to. And if that doesn’t equal the overall budget for the domestic game whilst pro budgets remain unaffected and cash is lavished on upgrading Murrayfield offices, then I think there’ll be more than just a few “call-outs” if our CRB reps aren’t seen to be doing their job.

    But having said that, I am sure, member clubs will “listen” to any reasoned and well communicated argument to temporarily agree to change the 15% mandated. That consultation just better not happen at the eleventh hour, when we’re collectively called upon to vote.

    • “Other outcomes put forward through the financial reset may see significant elements of the male and female pathways realigned with the Rugby Development department, providing improved connection between the grassroots game and the two Pro Teams.”

      This suggests to me, that whilst the domestic game budget may not be cut, it will now include activity that was previously the remit of the performance department.

  6. Dodson was hailed as some marketing/financial genius and negotiator, but in fact negotiated a pretty poor deal when compared to the other home unions (England £95m, Ireland £48m,Wales £51m and Scotland £44.5m) in the CVC agreement. If he had spent more of his time focused on developing grassroots rugby, he would have more Scottish registered players on which he could base his negotiations. Hard data counts and future sponsors will negotiate their rates based on the number of rugby followers in each country. Developing grassroots rugby takes time and is not for the workshy. There are few shortcuts. Its time the SRU leadership took a long term view with this and finally developed a strategy for long term gain, not short term.

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    • I’m usually first in line to criticise Mr Dodson but that’s not his fault. It’s purely about market size and TV rights. Its why Scottish football get a pittance when compared to English Premiership.

  7. Unfortunately, it is going to take time to sort out the total mess Dodson has left behind, but I think this Chairman is moving us in the right direction by disbanding the S6 and attempting to tackle the financial problems.

    Getting a good quality CEO in who can build a structure fit for the professional game is an absolute necessity now. That more than coaches, players etc. is what is required to drive Scottish rugby forward.

    • I disagree with you; disbanding Super Rugby will never help remove the £10.5m deficit but will, ironically, create more of a rugby problem. As you point out, a structure fit for the professional game is a necessity. The gap between the domestic game and the pro game is now even more significant and will undoubtedly take time to plug

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        • genuine question George. How much S6 did you watch?

          S6 had its problems but it was miles above premiership in standard

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          • With full time coaches, GMs and paid players you would hope it was to a higher standard. The question is – was it worth the money?

            Nat 2 players seemed to cope with this higher standard of rugby which doesn’t say much about levels does it?

          • I thought I had responded to your question a couple of hours ago however I managed about a Dozen +/- and although my viewing of Clubs games is obviously limited I still consider that after playing for the best part of 34 years I can make a judgement of the Good Bad and the Ugly.
            As a cheeky aside, does that mean some of your questions aren’t genuine?

        • George, the Premiership wasn’t Super. It was poor and needed overhauling several years ago. Six clubs’ hard work and efforts to improve our club rugby have been shot to pieces, with no real plan that will work in place. Go figure.

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          • I’m afraid as I don’t live in the UK at present and the Premiership isn’t televised or at least not to where I am I can’t comment on that.

          • Six clubs signed a 5 year licence agreement that has ultimately come to an end. It was a business deal they entered into which looked questionable from the start, don’t pretend this was some sort of altruistic endeavour on their part. Your ire should be focused firmly on the brains trust who devised it and the club directors who took a complete leap of faith with seemingly no thought for what would happen in the event that the 5 year agreement wouldn’t be renewed. Go figure.

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  8. I fear it will take more than a reset to bounce back from back to £10 million + losses with a return to profitable trading some years away. The deficits are being covered by the selling off of assets ie the money from the CVC that will affect future income, reserves which should have been used to reinvest in an upgrade of a deteriorating capital asset, Murrayfield Stadium.
    The financial cuts do not go far enough while the projected additional income generation is overly optimistic with far to many dependencies.
    The true legacy of Dodson! Those in positions of authority at the SRU who have been party to the decision making that has led to this financial disaster should be the first out of the door. As for any talk of bonuses, don’t make me laugh.

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  9. The SRU need to (and can easily) cut more than 35. They’re massively bloated with staff, if they had people that were good it would all be done with half the workforce they have. Too many yes men like Gemmell have been there far too long, why do they need 10 people working in a ticket office? Four people in a shop? 15 people in a marketing department? Slash the workforce and get proper seasoned corporate staff in that can do the job as half the cost.

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  10. The SRU need to (and can easily) cut more than 35. They’re massively bloated with staff, if they had people that were good it would all be done with half the workforce they have. Too many yes men like Gemmell have been there far too long, why do they need 10 people working in a ticket office? Four people in a shop? 15 people in a marketing department? Slash the workforce and get proper seasoned corporate staff in that can do the job as half the cost.

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  11. I have been very critical of the recent financial £10m loss and so whilst I haven’t had a chance to read the detail behind these plans (if there is any) it is at least slightly encouraging that they are talking about 3 year financial frames and 10 year plans. But didn’t they have a 3 year plan before which any decent business should have. If they did they would never have allowed a £10m loss, 2 years running.

    To achieve breakeven in 2 years there will have to be more pain unless additional revenue can be found which is hard to see unless the Qatari deal comes in.

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    • You raise an interesting point Ross. We all recall the three year plans. Win the World Cup was my personal favourite. Which of these plans were actually realised? My recollection was that “circumstances” got in the way.

      I have never come across a 10 year business plan. I fully accept it will shift but even stating it’s over 10 years is odd. And plans are all well and good. It’s translating that into business results. Under an onerous fiscal environment I have my doubts this is a wise direction.

      • When an organisation has a massive facility like the Murrayfield stadium to maintain, redevelop &/or possibly replace, a 10+ year plan is certainly needed for this & similar infrastructure projects. Unfortunately the SRU appears to have been kicking this particular can down the road for far too long!

      • Well, usual accepted practice in the planning process requires a joined-up journey via:
        1. Vision (aspirations & objectives in accordance with the overarching agreed organisational Mission),
        2. Strategic plan (taking account of internal capacities & the external environment, in this instance economic / commercial, political & sporting),
        3. Operational plan (incorporating financial, marketing & resources planning).

        Not much evidence in recent times of any of that, far less an integrated approach – more like a reactive “Arthur Daley” attitude, grasping at any random (generally self-serving) opportunity to fuel the gravy train until the next set of buffers!

      • Dom, if it helps I believe the circumstances that stopped us winning the World Cup was the fact that there were far too many teams better than us. If it wasn’t for that we would have achieved the plan!

      • Dom,

        I was primarily talking from a financial perspective. A 3 year financial plan is a good idea but the devil is in the detail of what expenditure reductions and/or revenue increases will come from.

  12. How will shifting activity from performance rugby department affect the allocation of the rugby development budget?

  13. So “reprioritisation of activities” now, redundancy programme now, fingers crossed for wider sponsorship opportunities and commercial partnerships, and maybe we get to breakeven position by end of 25/26.

    But don’t worry, the budgets for the Glasgow and Edinburgh money pits are “unaffected”.

    • My suspicions are that Edinburgh and Glasgow budgets will be cut but they will have been already given their budget for the coming season which will soon be upon us, too late to enforce cuts now.

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      • It’s never too late to make cuts. Even when budgets have been agreed.

        Yesterday’s statement is a mea culpa and a survival position. Nothing can be off the table. Given the costs of pro rugby they will have to share the burden alongside everyone else.

        If the pro budget is protected and the rugby development one is subject to cuts, serious questions need to be asked.

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        • Dom – The focus on cost reduction needs to be on the non playing costs as much as possible ie central admin/overheads/management. Thats where the numbers seemed to have grown. In any business you need to ideally keep central overheads as low as possible and focus on the front line ie players in this case.

        • You will achieve far more meaningful budget cuts by entering into discussions with the two pro teams and giving them time to make adjustments for the following seasons. I would imagine there are players and personnel on contracts which may cost more to sever early than let them run their course. They will also have time to evaluate the right people ( mainly players) to take them forward rather than a panic disposal of personnel.

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      • Maybe – pro team investment for the coming season has not been touched – suggests it is not going up and may be be a real terms cut in reality.
        Much of the recruitment is probably done already and there won’t be much, if anything more to unveil.
        It’s going to be a tough year on and off the field.

  14. Just cut Gemmell and Fletcher. That’s £250-300k already. They do nothing except cause mayhem.

    And I’m sorry to be the one to say it, but they have massively over invested into women’s rugby too. I find it bloody bizzare that some girls are already on 20k contracts given the womens game brings in no income. A transition contract for a 1st year pro for men’s is 20k… figure that one out. Could you imagine if roles were reversed… it would be called male privilege.

    I support the womens game and want it to grow but we heavily run the risk of the men’s game dying in Scotland if we continue to run into financial struggles because of box tick exercises. They have always severely crippled it by cutting super series and gone back to the club game which they know doesn’t work… okay more A games… but what’s going to be different now then when they had A fixtures in the past?

    The men’s team literally funds all of Scottish Rugby and brings in 99% of the sponsorship and ticket sales.

    What also might help is not giving some clown the best part of a million pounds a year to wear a suit and sit in the box seat at every home game like they did with Dodson. Madness.

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    • Perhaps they’re hoping the “wizard” will wave his magic wand to generate all that extra revenue to get them to breakeven

    • I don’t know how you can say the woman’s game brings in no income. The reality is that major companies and sponsors will not invest in our game unless we invest heavily in the woman’s game trying to put it on an even keel with the mens game. The woman’s game has a big future and we must invest in it now, this could be where some of our much needed increase in growth will come from. We must look forward in all aspects of our game to move it forward into the 21st century.

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      • I am curious to know, just what is ‘heavy’ investment, and as regards the ‘income’ aspect I rather suggest if there is £1,000 profit on the gate but it has cost you £10,000 to get it, that isn’t a profit.
        Any are you suggesting the heavy investment takes precedence over any aspect of financial stability?
        The robbing Paul to pay Paula is, and has to be, seen as a drain to what brings the money in at the present, there is no way that any commercial operation that is in debt would look at ‘heavy’ investment in an area that offers more expenditure than income in the short/medium term.
        In any even just where is the ‘real’ evidence that ‘heavy’ investment in women’s rugby will be the saviour of the Men’s game?
        And before the usual suspects start hitting the keyboard with the usual ‘misogynist’ character assassination, I am not, in my opinion myself and many others are pointing out the priorities.
        Steady the ship and when there is money to invest in a niche minority aspect of the game then consider the investment.
        The primary aim for Scottish Rugby is first and foremost to reduce the debt and move into profit, and that means if it doesn’t pay its way it has to go at least on the ‘back-burner’. As ever other views are available, but stick to the realistic ones that brings the debt down.

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        • Is it just me or do people honestly fail to realise that half our sponsors audience ( give or take a few %) is female. It is folly to cut investment in the woman’s game, if anything it should receive more investment regardless of our financial situation. It is the future of our game for growth, participation and financially. We cannot blame the woman’s game for our current situation. We were in a far worse financial mess before we’d ever thought of investing in the woman’s game. This male dominated, aye has been approach is what is killing our game at all levels.

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          • I wonder if you could explain ‘half our sponsors audience being female’, that in itself as a statement means absolutely nothing, you don’t mention which sponsor, you don’t mention what they are watching or attending, I’m afraid it just looks like a typical assertion with little statistical back up, and dare I say it’s a bit Dodson-speak for my money.
            I also question that it is the future of the game for growth, where are the statistics to back that up? Are you really saying that the Women’s game will support the Men’s game to the degree that more and more financial support is offered up, when it is absolutely clear that it is the Men’s game that is supporting what many consider is a luxury the SRU can’t afford, especially your suggestion of a ‘heavy increase in funding’.
            I’ve looked at some of the statistics handed out by World Rugby regarding participation in Women’s Rugby and frankly in real terms they lack credibility, as does your assertion that the SRU should spend more money on investing in women’s rugby: at the Grassroots and Clubs certainly, but definitely not increasing the present largesse that is seemingly offered out to the International squad.
            As I suggested this is not the time to invest in an area that will in many peoples opinion not finance the SRU debt: do you honestly consider putting more money into the Women’s professional squad will see Murrayfield filled to capacity for a ‘stand alone’ Women’s International at a price structure equivalent to the tickets for the Men’s game within the next 10 years?
            To be honest why would you not use your expertise to offer up solutions for the revenue stream that is the primary source rather than the speculative ‘Fiver’ on an outside horse in the Derby, if you get my drift.

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            • Have you not noticed the revolution in woman’s sport, do you want rugby to be part of this. If you are dealing with sponsors or potential sponsors these days they want to be part of this and hear what you as a sport is doing. Like it or not the international teams are the shop front of our sport. An underperforming under resourced woman’s team will create negativity in the eyes of a sponsor when it comes to financial deals. That will effect sponsor packages and potential new sponsors coming into the game.
              A successful well resourced woman’s team will also open the doors to the producers of more feminine orientated products, maybe you haven’t noticed these products exist!
              If we don’t invest in our woman’s game we will never fill stadiums, it doesn’t work like that, just look at other sports who are light years ahead of us. Look at the woman’s game in England regarding filling stadium. England and France didn’t wait til the woman filled their stadiums before investing in them!
              Our male game is a mature audience our woman’s game is an exciting new product which can only grow with meaningful investment. Cut it back now because they currently don’t fill Murrayfield is madness.

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              • So many strawman arguments. No one is blaming the current crisis on the women’s game. No one is saying they don’t want Scottish women to be part of women’s rugby.

                Earlier you were suggesting that it requires “mainly ex-players” to take Scottish rugby forward. You certainly do very little to encourage that idea!

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              • Well first and foremost, thank you for your response, and thank you for enquiring if I live in the ‘Real’ World, you will I’m certain be pleased to know that I am aware of Women’s products, just because I am advocating for fiscal sobriety doesn’t mean I live a misogynist inspired lifestyle.
                As regards a state of madness: spending money you haven’t got whilst reducing spending in proven areas of benefit isn’t my idea of financial sanity. The problem is now, not for 5 or 10 years down the line, but for next season and the season afterwards in an attempt to return finances to a competent position, then you can look at spending the money you actually have in the Bank.
                As regard whether I have noticed a ‘revolution’ in women’s sport, I’ve certainly observed a Commercial and Media drive along with World rugby frequently ‘puffing’ up certain aspects of in particular women’s rugby as the new Messiah.
                Let’s take your point on ‘Twickenham being filled’ in one recent fixture it wasn’t to capacity and true there was a good ‘Gate’ however at £20 a ticket and many ‘freebies’ on offer that is hardly surprising, in effect the RFU, an organisation with, it is reasonable to suggest, a great deal more money than the SRU certainly did not make a profit from it, and that is the point there is no use at this stage of attempting to get into a solvent position by an overt over enthusiasm spending funds initially in a speculative way.
                As regards selling in to Sponsors and Advertisers. There are several points to this the primary one being in selling in you state what has been done, but financial restraints mean that you need their sponsorship advertising more than ever to support women’s rugby – but you don’t spend the money first and then ask the ‘Punter’ for it.
                And where have I advocated ‘cutting’ back on the spending, I have advocated that it is spent primarily in the development at Club and Grassroots level if anywhere. It is perhaps a Corinthian thought on my part, however in the amateur days players made sacrifices to ensure they were in a position to obtain the Jersey and if the money isn’t there in sufficient quantity for players you would hope they would still attempt to replicate those values, because frankly with the knowledge that ‘times are hard’ if they only want to make the effort if they get a financial reward, albeit less than others, that’s a bit sad.

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              • More strawman nonsense. It wasn’t said that you have anything to do with Dodson just that you are speaking like him. Surely you can understand that?

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                • I have never spoken to Mark about sponsorship or woman’s rugby and I’ve never seen ( or can’t remember) his views on sponsorship or woman’s rugby expressed any where. May I dare suggest you using his name is a cheap shot against my views given his popularity on this platform 😊
                  I’m not sure where I mention ex players or how I discourage them from being involved?
                  I don’t hold the view that we shouldn’t invest or that we should cut investment in the woman’s game until they can cover their cost by filling Murrayfield, I fear we could wait a long time.
                  I observe the changing world and how woman’s sport is playing a bigger and more important role, quite rightly and not before time. I want rugby to be part of this changing world and so do our sponsors.

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                  • Above:
                    “I’m not sure where I mention ex players”

                    Your post 2nd July at 6.13pm:”They will also have time to evaluate the right people ( mainly players) to take them forward rather than a panic disposal of personnel.”

                    It seems you can’t even remember what you have said.

                    Above:
                    “I don’t hold the view that we shouldn’t invest or that we should cut investment in the woman’s game until they can cover their cost by filling Murrayfield”

                    Has anyone suggested there should be no investment in the women’s game until they can cover their costs by filling Murrayfield? Of course they haven’t it’s the latest in your continuing stream of strawmen arguments.

                    Why do you have to continually misrepresent what others say to argue your point? I’m afraid you simply have no credibility.

        • Funnily enough my own club and business. Speaking to sponsors and potential sponsors their interest in youth and woman’s rugby is to the forefront of any potential package you maybe entering into.

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          • But yet again you comment – “their interest in youth and woman’s rugby” that doesn’t differentiate, what are the percentages, 50-50, 20-80?
            Why add ‘youth’ into the situation when myself and others are questioning the value of your suggesting for a ‘heavy’ increase in funding for the women’s game, [it devalues your position]. Fine supporting women’s rugby at the club and grassroots, less so elsewhere.

            • Ok. Your simple view is to cut investment in woman’s rugby til it fills Murrayfield and they can cover their cost with gate receipts. Firstly that will never happen but what you seem to fail to grasp is the importance of sponsorship and the changing world. Sponsors will invest more in rugby if we have a vibrant well funded woman’s game. If we don’t invest in the woman’s game then they will look elsewhere for better opportunities to invest their money. Do you not see what is happening in other sports. I have seen the benefits woman’s rugby can bring to the club house both socially and economically. Our male game is dying ( lots we could do to change that if we moved into the 21st century) there is 50% of our population we are currently paying lip service to and you want to cut it back even further !!

              • I refer you to consider all my comments and specifically at 12:56 today, however specifically I am not, as others have noticed, advocating no funding for women’s rugby nor have I suggest reducing it, although I consider that whatever is spent should not be ‘Top Loaded’ the Club and Grassroots should be addressed, a factor you seem to suggest when you comment above “I have seen the benefits woman’s rugby can bring to the club house both socially and economically”
                I specifically disagree with your position of increasing or heavy funding AT THIS STAGE OF DEBT at the SRU whilst attempting to obtain financial stability, but as I have said other views are available and the only way to change someone’s position is by arguing with facts not hopes of what could or possibly could not be, and I would hope to persuade you, and others, that now is not the time for speculative projects.
                As for not failing to grasp Sponsorship and Advertising: for many reasons you could not be further from the truth, and as I said the principal is you get the money from Sponsorship and Advertising first and use their money to invest not your own by going further into debt.

              • I refer you to consider all my comments and specifically at 12:56 today, however specifically I am not, as others have noticed, advocating no funding for women’s rugby nor have I suggest reducing it, although I consider that whatever is spent should not be ‘Top Loaded’ the Club and Grassroots should be addressed, a factor you seem to suggest when you comment above “I have seen the benefits woman’s rugby can bring to the club house both socially and economically”
                I specifically disagree with your position of increasing or heavy funding AT THIS STAGE OF DEBT at the SRU whilst attempting to obtain financial stability, but as I have said other views are available and the only way to change someone’s position is by arguing with facts not hopes of what could or possibly could not be, and I would hope to persuade you, and others, that now is not the time for speculative projects.
                As for not failing to grasp Sponsorship and Advertising: for many reasons you could not be further from the truth, and as I said the principal is you get the money from Sponsorship and Advertising first and use their money to invest not your own by going further into debt.

              • “Your simple view is to cut investment in woman’s rugby til it fills Murrayfield and they can cover their cost with gate receipts”.

                No it isn’t. It’s yet another strawman argument.

      • Not saying SRU shouldnt invest. Never said that. I said they have over invested, by a lot.

        If you genuinely believe that the women’s game makes SRU a net profit then you are incredibly delusional. The SRU will be millions of pounds of debt to fund the women’s game compared to what it brings in. That will be majority of the debt, but they will never publicise that.

        • What I am saying is we shouldn’t be cutting investment in the woman’s game and it will bring in more income in the future. As has been stated we need to grow our income to cover our costs. Where is that growth going to come from when we have a mature male product ( shrinking ). Do you not see the growth in woman’s sport around the world, do you not want to be part of that, do you not see the economic benefits it will bring?
          We can only keep cutting back so much in expenditure ( I do believe we can make savings now that will not detrimentally hurt our game) but we also have to be in a position to increase revenue and I believe the woman’s game is a massive opportunity for rugby.

          • I agree the growth in the womens game still has some way to go, as participation numbers continue to increase as well as paying punters through the turnstiles.

            But will it be commercially sustainable as a standalone business unit, or will it need ongoing subsidy (like the male pro game) – I suppose that’s the million-dollar question.

            • Well as I have mentioned before the Professional game doesn’t pay its way here or England with Clubs mired in debt and in a couple of cases Clubs with great tradition going to the wall.
              The thought that Women’s Rugby would have a different outcome is pure ‘Walter Mitty’.
              The problem started when World Rugby failed to lay down any parameters, no co-operation within the home Unions, France with a totally different catchment audience and financial stability from Stadia being owned by local community, and on and on.
              Unfortunately those who are top professional players are paid far more than the bring through the door, it just goes on and on and I keep on saying as I said when the game went open, be careful what you wish for, and it is difficult to consider that I wss wrong.

  15. So Dodson rides off into the sunset having left Scottish Rugby in a real financial mess Add reputational damage, lack of progress at amateur club level and semi pro level and U20s competing in the also rans competition, you can easily see the damage inflicted on the Scottish rugby scene under his leadership. No doubt he will claim Glasgow’s brilliant win of the URC championship was partly down to him but if ever there was reward for failure he takes the biscuit.

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  16. To save a bit on salaries perhaps Gregor Townsend could coach Edinburgh as well as the national team thereby saving a salary?
    Considering the Edinburgh squad contains many national team players any overlap might be beneficial and GT is at Murrayfield anyway.
    A sort of jobshare with a win win built in and it would keep GT involved at the “coalface” between internationals.

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  17. I can only surmise that things are pretty bad at Murrayfield. This is crisis comms 101. Get the bad stuff out now!

    The challenge isn’t really the cash position. The spend position is what has caused the over £21M loss over 2 years. Getting back to financial sustainability without addressing pro rugby costs will be quite a feat. Cutting less than 10% of the headcount makes achieving the desired financial targets interesting.

    Of course growing revenue by over 50% to £100m will help. Good luck with that.

  18. Do the two pro teams need 39 or more staff to run them.
    Why is the two teams budget not changed.
    Sadly this will mean that the domestic game will be affected
    Wake up clubs before it is to late.

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  19. More mealy-mouthed unspecific peripheral blether from the Custodians & Co – they even had to buy in (at what cost?) external consultancy support to write their as yet meaningless, generalised script. It usually appears that if these guys had a hammer and noticed a nail sticking out, they’d do anything to avoid hitting it!

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  20. More brave words from the usual EH12 bufterati suspects!

    However, in contrast to the recently-publicised and clearly-defined WRU action plan, it very much appears they are still just dancing tentatively around the well-known financial / operational problems that have been gradually descending like a suffocating fog upon the Murrayfield establishment and estate.

    SRU playing catch-up yet again…. On this occasion, with reality biting them in their collective bums!

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