AFTER a weekend of fierce criticism, the Scottish Rugby Union and Welsh Rugby Union have now committed to donate a six-figure sum to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation after this Saturday’s clash at the Principality Stadium between the two countries. The exact figure has not been disclosed.
The two governing bodies have come under fire for using the charity to promote the match, which has been added to the fixture schedule this year outside of World Rugby’s window for international player release, but not actually contributing to the charity themselves – although supporters were given the option to donate when they bought tickets online.
The charity has insisted that they were happy with the arrangement, which they described as “a wonderful tribute” to the former Scotland lock who is fighting a brave battle against Motor Neurone Disease. A number of fund-raising opportunities are being facilitated at the match, and there is also a benefit to the charity in terms of raising awareness of Weir’s plight and of the disease in general.
A statement issued by the SRU this evening [Monday] said –
The Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby can confirm they will donate directly to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation after this weekend’s match between the two nations.
The Unions together have committed to donating a joint six-figure sum from the proceeds of the game, with the associated visibility for the fight against Motor Neurone Disease also providing an invaluable contribution.
An awareness and fundraising campaign began when the fixture was announced in January and supporters have also donated at the point of purchase of all tickets for the match and during the ‘free-to-enter’ open training session at Principality Stadium.
The WRU and Scottish Rugby joined forces in support of Doddie’s foundation, which was formed to raise funds to aid research into the causes of Motor Neurone Disease and investigate potential cures after the 61-times capped former Scotland and British & Irish Lions second row was diagnosed as a sufferer.
The motivation for creating the ‘Doddie Weir Cup’ was as a gesture of support to a great rugby man, to raise awareness for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and aid fundraising, and both Unions have now also confirmed they will each donate, alongside existing fundraising events, on concourses and at the point of ticket purchase, with a contribution of their own.
Spokespeople for both organisations were at pains to stress that they had attached Weir’s name to the match with the best of intentions.
The WRU spokesperson said –
“We have listened to supporters and, whilst our initial motivation in supporting the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was to help raise awareness for the fight against MND and the Foundations’ fundraising campaign, we have decided to make a direct donation.
“As a Union of member clubs which supports our own designated charity, the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, and supports guest charities with bucket collections at each international match alongside an array of other fundraising activity across Welsh rugby, we have taken care not to set an unsustainable precedent.
“Together with the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Scottish Rugby we put together a thorough and careful plan in support of a hugely deserving cause with all the best intentions.
“The intention was always to celebrate a great man of the world game and it feels appropriate that we reflect the generosity of the rugby family with our own contribution.”
A spokesman for Scottish Rugby said –
“We have been proud to have the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation as one of our official charities to enable us to provide time and resources into helping Doddie raise vital funds for much needed research into MND.
“We have listened to the feedback from the rugby family in relation to extending our support around the autumn test match in Cardiff and have partnered with the WRU in a commitment to guarantee the Foundation receives a six-figure donation.
“We are happy to provide a further level of support to Doddie and his Foundation through this initiative and to mirror the generosity of fans.”
Former Scotland centre Scott Hastings, Chairman of Trustees of My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, said –
“We would like to thank the Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby for this significant and very welcome decision which will add even more to the financial benefits we are grateful to be receiving from this weekend.
“Their commitment to donate directly to My Name’5 Doddie Foundation underlines the continued support and generosity we have received from both Unions and the wider rugby community since we launched the Foundation last year.”
“The outpouring of goodwill shown to Doddie and the Foundation means a great deal to us and allows us to continue to invest in research and hopefully one day help find a cure for this horrendous disease.”
“We are all looking forward to the weekend in Cardiff and the match on Saturday.”