Scottish Rugby indicate that they will fight misconduct charge

The fall-out over the potential cancellation of Japan versus Scotland World Cup pool match will not subside

Mark Dodson's comments have upset Rugby World Cup Ltd.
Mark Dodson's comments have upset Rugby World Cup Ltd. Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson -


A SCOTTISH RUGBY SPOKESMAN has acknowledged receipt of Rugby World Cup Ltd’s notice of complaint against his organisation, has questioned its appropriateness, and has indicated that Murrayfield is prepared to fight against any disciplinary proceedings which might arise.

The complaint relates to Scottish Rugby’s response to the threat last week that Scotland’s final World Cup pool match against Japan on Sunday might be cancelled if Typhoon Hagibis rendered the International Stadium Yokohama unplayable. Having failed to convince tournament organisers to consider a compromise solution last Thursday, SRU Chief Executive Mark Dodson publicly urged World Rugby to rethink their stance in a radio interview and at a press briefing on Friday, revealing that he had taken legal advice and calling for the game to be rescheduled if required. “We’re not going to let Scotland be the collateral damage for a decision that was taken in haste,” he stated.

This prompted a near instantaneous rebuke from World Rugby, who described Dodson’s comments as “disappointing”.

In the end, the worst of the storm missed Yokohama and the game was able to go ahead as scheduled, with Japan worthy 28-21 winners, meaning Scotland were eliminated from the World Cup at the end of the pool stage.

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However, Rugby World Cup Ltd have decided that they don’t want to let the issue lie, with under-fire tournament director Alan Gilpin (who is also World Rugby’s Chief Operating Officer) stating at a press conference in Tokyo on Tuesday that the SRU had been referred to World Rugby’s independent disputes committee.

It has been reported that the charge will be misconduct through bringing the game into disrepute and that the committee will be set up ‘as soon as possible’. A reprimand or a fine appears to be the most likely outcome, with Dodson understood to have half-anticipated that this would be World Rugby’s reaction but deciding that it was a price worth paying in the circumstances.

“Following receipt of correspondence yesterday from World Rugby, Scottish Rugby confirms that it has received a notice of complaint from Rugby World Cup Ltd,” said the SRU spokesman. “Scottish Rugby is querying whether the matter is an appropriate one for the bringing of Misconduct charges.

“If Misconduct proceedings are to proceed, Scottish Rugby looks forward to receiving a fair hearing in this matter.  No further comment would be appropriate at this time.”

“Scottish Rugby once again expresses its sincere condolences to the people of Japan and all those affected by Typhoon Hagibis which struck last weekend. We have been able to convey our best wishes directly to the Mayor of Yokohama and the Chairman of the Japanese Rugby Union. We stand with the great people of Japan.

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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.


  1. Gilpin consistently refers to competition rule 3. But he only quotes the second half of it. The 1st bit says

    “In the interests of the Teams, the commencement of Matches at the scheduled time shall be the first priority in all instances. However, in circumstances deemed necessary and/or appropriate by RWCL, Matches may need to be delayed, postponed, abandoned or cancelled. All decisions in this regard shall be communicated to Teams by the Match Commissioner.”

    This is why the SRU QC thinks the SRU had a case

    • The key words there are “ appropriate by RWCL”.

      The SRU Championship Committee has similar phraseology. Indeed most sports bodies do. Here are the rules. We also choose to make decisions and those decisions shall be final.

      Now how many angels can stand on the head of a pin?

  2. Why are we still digging in this hole?
    We attack our Global Governing Body publicly, while still in discussion over rules we agreed to.
    We get called to account.
    We then appear to suggest that said Governing Body is capable of “unfair” hearings, by hoping for a fair one.
    What next?

    I said elsewhere on this site that I thought the rules were wrong but we signed up to them. Those on the WR Audit and Risk committtee including Mr Dodson surely asked “What is the contingency planning for Typhoons in the Typhoon season”

    So why the *apoplectic” (not my word) approach to this ?

    I wonder?

    Nothing to do with a set of accounts at the AGM which fanfared “debtfree” (well challenged by Dom at the AGM, and Barney Senior on this site), conveniently masking a PBIT (Profit Before Interest and Tax) worse than any year since before Gordon McKie, with this year facing the typical £3m dip in revenue in a World Cup year, and the threat of this revenue dip increasing as our World Cup share lessened if we failed to make the quarters?

    And of course all of this will have an impact on the Exec bonuses.

    Only wondering.
    Could not possibly comment.

    Oh, yes and we might now have to add a fine to that likely deficit.
    What next?

  3. that’s an interesting defence there.

    So after a meeting(s) with WR we call a QC to get their view. Imagine a lawyer agreeing with a client that they have a case. Almost as if they are getting paid for their opinion.
    Meanwhile Japan is getting ready for the most powerful typhoon in 61 years.
    That they got the match on was quite remarkable. The organisers slept in the stadium that night and the changing rooms were Flooded.

    How does the behaviour of the SRU and our CEO advance our interests in World Rugby? And isn’t that what they are supposed to be doing rather than having a strop?

  4. Looks like our Exec have really peed off WR.

    I like to play the what if game. Just imagine what the SRU would be doing to a club that lobbied the SRU to alter a competition rule. When that lobbying failed ran to the media and bleated about how unfair life was and using legal opinion as a means to push their agenda. In the event the game went ahead and we lost to a much better side.

    On being referred for a possible misconduct charge, the club sends out a “statement” where they look forward to getting a fair hearing. I can imagine the explosions of indignation at Murrayfield and the likely punishments on said club

    Can some adults take over please? We seem to have let some teenagers loose in the corridors of power.

    • Don’t mean to interrupt the Dodson-bashing, but no-one was looking for a competition rule to be altered. The SRU believed and their lawyers maintained there was already lattitude in the the tournament framework to make alternative arrangements through the “force majeure” provisions These provisions apparently referenced “storm and tempest” as grounds for invoking them.

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