Memorandum submitted by Glasgow Hawks
Rugby Football Club Limited
It has been less than two years since Rugby
Union became "professional" and during that period of
time it seems that every rule in acceptable and established business
practice has been broken.
English club owners offered remuneration packages,
which attracted rugby legends worldwide, and either bankrupted
their clubs or created benchmarks which other Unions tried to
match irrespective of financial affordability.
As a result investments are being made in rugby
which can never be justified.
Youngsters are plucked out of employment and
universities with income offers which are short term and are being
accepted as an alternative to working.
Many of these youngsters have since been made
redundant or are accepting employment with minimal security and
The employers, whether private or Union, are
unconcerned especially if it provides them with a short period
of glory and ego massaging.
We have the privilege of witnessing the birth
of a new sport"Professional Rugby Union".
We should be treating it accordinglywith
sensitivity and the benefit of experience, which should acknowledge
the successes and failures of both business practice and other
To date every element of that experience has
It is interesting to note that no Northern Hemisphere
country has seen fit to change the structure of its governing
body since the advent of professionalism.
Only Scotland has a review study in process
under the Chairmanship of Lord MacKay.
In Scotland the election of amateur rugby people
continues in the hope that they will have the business acumen
to handle a turnover of £20 million and the expertise required
in financial, marketing, personnel and rugby related matters which
includes the co-ordination of a professional workforceemployees
and playersand an unpaid voluntary workforce of some 2,000
hard working individuals who are critical to recruitment and development
of youngsters throughout the country.
In Scotland the withdrawal of Tennents, the
clubs' League and Cup sponsors after one year of their three year
contract and a steady trickle of resignations from the SRU are
apparently of little concern to those running the game.
Their focus is totally on representative and
international rugby with the result that club rugby is ignored
and reduced to a level of mediocrity with no concern or apparent
interest in the voluntary administration who will eventually fade
from the game.
Loss of club membership, spectators, sponsorship
and players is the current trend.
It is impossible to grow the game from the top.
Rugby needs highly paid, highly qualified businessmen
as Executive Directors of a complex sporting structure to manage
rugby and co-ordinate all levels and ages of the game throughout
A non-Executive Board of businessmen and club
association representatives is required as the information link
between schools, youth and club rugby, the organisation of representative
and international rugby and the Executive Board.
A seamless structure is essential to allow ambitious
youngsters to move from school to international level.
We should therefore develop "area"
clubs providing a focus for groups or associations of clubs and
schools and attracting sponsorship from local authorities, companies
These area clubs will develop naturally in the
rugby populations of Scotland and should be supported and encouraged
by the SRU with finance, personnel and time.
Their flexibility in size would allow development
to compete outwith Scotland.
This structure would be financially viable and
involve large numbers of clubs and players and equally important
The total involvement and support of the SRU
Rugby is not a big enough game to justify the
current level of remuneration being paid, particularly in England,
and governing bodies should therefore work with clubs to ensure
their finance and personnel attracts further local and national
financial support and targets large areas of the country's rugby
This will maximise growth and development of
rugby within a financially viable framework.
Players must have a responsibility to their
chosen rugby career and the development of their sport.
Likewise employers must be responsible for their
It is questionable whether or not rugby needs
to be a fully professional game ie full-time rugby.
Players should develop in every aspect of the
gameplaying, coaching, sport management, recruitment, working
with schools etc.
In addition they should be given the opportunity
to develop other skills or their chosen career for life after
There is a serious danger of youngsters leaving
school for a rugby career to the total exclusion of further education.
This has to be addressed.
It is essential that rugby as a professional
and amateur sport is financially sustainable.
It is equally important that the link between
amateur and professional is strong and that professionalism does
not destroy the sport by ignoring its roots.
Small rugby playing countries like Scotland
should rewrite the rugby map by identifying sufficiently strong
rugby playing populations within it.
Clubs and the SRU must co-operate and co-ordinate
their efforts to maximise the development of their "areas"
Recruitment in every school.
Development of players and coaches
to the highest levels.
Marketing of "areas" to
individuals, companies, local authorities etc.
Creation of Business Plans to establish
objectives and financial requirements of each "area".
Players contracted by SRU must play,
coach, recruit, manage and market in "area".
SRU should assist with personnel,
time and finance in supporting development and marketing of game
in each "area".
"Areas" should be club/SRU
driven not SRU owned.
With all of the above in place Scotland will
ensure that the development of the game is professionally grown
and that all levels participate.
This "area" structure is also flexible
as it can expand for domestic growth or contract (combine "areas")
for competition in Europe.
It is financially viable and maximises revenue
from private and public sources.
Rugby can only be grown through proactive efforts
at grass-roots levelschools and local communitiesnot
through concentration on remote elitism