‘There is something rotten at the heart of Scottish Rugby’


A NEWLY-PUBLISHED guide, “Darkish Towers” by David Enrich, is a filleting of the large funding establishment Deutsche Financial institution. Here’s what the Sunday Occasions overview needed to say of the publication. 

“The Deutsche Financial institution of Enrich’s guide is the sort of financial institution that ought to solely exist in a tv drama….it helped purchasers to commit tax fraud, illegally conceal debt and launder cash; helped to spark the worldwide monetary disaster by turning into one of the vital prolific peddlers of mortgage-backed securities it knew would fail; enabled purchasers to evade sanctions in opposition to Iran and Syria; conspired to repair key rates of interest; lied to shareholders and regulators; and ignored and in some instances fired whistle-blowers, whereas rewarding essentially the most reckless and high-earning staff.”

The overview goes on to inform us that Deutsche Financial institution grew to become often called “Douche Financial institution”, however what does this must do with Scottish Rugby you might be in all probability asking? Properly, it was from “Douche Financial institution” that the governing physique plucked its present chairman Colin Grassie, who had been with the German conglomerate since 1995 and headed up the London department for a number of years up till 2015. If you’re pondering the knowledge of hiring Scottish Rugby’s figurehead from such an establishment, you aren’t alone.


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For the avoidance of any doubt, there isn’t a suggestion that Grassie was personally concerned in any wrongdoing, merely the commentary that a number of of these underneath him loved a quick and unfastened relationship with the foundations and nothing a lot seems to have modified. For those who marvel why the chairman of Scottish Rugby has not sacked or censured the chief govt at Murrayfield, the above guide could go a way in the direction of explaining that ugly little conundrum.

There’s something rotten on the coronary heart of Scottish Rugby that just about makes you yearn for a return of the blundering outdated committee man whose worst crime was to scalp just a few tickets when England got here calling each different 12 months.

As a substitute we’ve a chief govt who has persistently besmirched the identify of Scottish Rugby. It began with the Keith Russell affair when the choose acknowledged that his dismissal had been each “procedurally and substantively unfair”. Mark Dodson has but to apologise to the Scottish followers for this show of hubris and nor has the Murrayfield boss bothered to elucidate the 14 different non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for non-playing employees that he had signed off at goodness solely is aware of what value previous to Russell taking his principled stand.

We are able to solely guess on the reputational injury Dodson has brought on Scottish Rugby with that incident, and the potential sponsors who could have backed quietly out of the room. After shedding the case, Dodson ought to have resigned. When he refused to go, Grassie ought to have handed him a big dram and a revolver. As a substitute the chairman had already prolonged his contract.

RWC ’19 ought to have been a celebration of all that was good concerning the recreation however Huge Mouth strikes once more. As a substitute of creating use of insider relationships when it regarded like Scotland’s crunch match in opposition to Japan is perhaps cancelled, Dodson’s response was broadly interpreted as a veiled menace of authorized motion, prompting a £70,000 positive from World Rugby and a pressured apology. That, reasonably than any rugby, is Scotland’s World Cup legacy: one other humiliation.

Scottish Rugby Taxi Board Game

These tales are by no means written in black and white. Dodson did effectively to squeeze a great chunk of cash from BT’s coffers for rebranding Murrayfield, however his overbearing vanity is his fixed undoing.

It was Dodson, in addition to the Welsh consultant on the Six Nations Board, who in 2017 turned down RBS’s provide of £14 million to sponsor the Six Nations solely to finish up accepting simply £6 million from Guinness the next 12 months. No apology was forthcoming.

Performances on the park

Scotland exited the World Cup on the pool phases, they sit eighth within the World Rugby rankings and so they have received two from eight of their Six Nations matches up to now throughout the board (males, ladies and U20’s). We’re locked in a danse macabre with Italy on the backside of the Six Nations and the senior males’s squad is riven by a cut up between head coach Gregor Townsend and head playmaker Finn Russell.

As chief govt, Dodson ought to be the one to crack just a few heads collectively, however he’s hopelessly compromised by his historical past with Russell’s father, Keith, and may solely watch, ineffective, from the aspect strains. A rupture that ought to have been mended in days threatens to divide Scottish rugby for years to return.

Dodson additionally jettisoned Vern Cotter far too early in favour of Townsend who, in line with one dependable supply, just about demanded the job.

Now, within the aftermath of a disastrous World Cup, Townsend claims he has discovered a variety of classes and can enhance. However he was not handed the job to be taught classes and enhance. For those who demand a job teaching Scotland at worldwide degree then you definately had higher hit the bottom working. Preliminary outcomes have been encouraging however since then Townsend’s micro-managing type has alienated the gamers to such an extent that at the very least one has walked, post-World Cup his squad skipper Stuart McInally was left “by no means wanting to consider rugby ever once more” and also you marvel about Richie Grey’s motivation for sitting out the entire shebang?

It’s a large number and it’s a large number of Dodson’s making, as a result of the apparent factor to do after that Twickenham quarter-final agony on the 2015 World Cup was to provide Cotter one other kick on the ball 4 years later whereas Townsend discovered some a lot wanted man-management expertise.

As a substitute, Dodson caved to Townsend and now finds himself between a rock and a tough place, the place Townsend’s spat with Russell makes all of it however unattainable for Dodson to fireside the pinnacle coach with out wanting like he’s caving to the fly-half. In an absurd twist, Townsend’s personal inept interpersonal expertise may very well contrive to maintain him in situ when nearly everyone seems to be screaming for change and his Scotland aspect is caught in third gear.

Dodson’s reward for presiding over this shambles was a bonus that took his earnings final 12 months into the area of £900,000, which anybody with one iota of self consciousness would refuse level clean as completely inappropriate given the scale of the organisation. Who the hell agreed that sum and what the hell have been they smoking once they did?

Accountability in motion

There are solely two entities that may impact some much-needed change on the prime of Murrayfield and one in every of them, Grassie, reveals no signal of recognising an issue exists, by no means thoughts fixing it.

This chairman had already prolonged Dodson’s contract earlier than the choose had pronounced on the Keith Russell case, which is scarcely credible, or could be when you didn’t have already got an inkling of the setting that produced Grassie. By the way, the only most essential man in Scottish Rugby has not as soon as in his three years as chairman gone earlier than the press to reply these questions or any others. He trumpets the virtues of openness, honesty and transparency after which spends three years dodging the press.

The one different physique that might carry Dodson to heel are the golf equipment, who’ve been passive to the purpose of being comatose, one compliant president changing one other, though nobody needs a civil conflict. The behaviour of the present incumbent ultimately 12 months’s SGM means that Dee Bradbury could also be struggling Stockholm Syndrome.

Fortunately hubris, once more, from the folks on the prime could effectively have woken a sleeping large. The manager’s boastful show ultimately 12 months’s AGM and SGM gave golf equipment an inkling of the disdain by which they’re held and moreover, if carried out, the governance overview by “impartial” Invoice Gammell would take away the membership voice from the equation altogether.

That sobering truth has lastly grabbed the golf equipment’ consideration. Final night time [Wednesday], the golf equipment from Nationwide Two and Three held a discussion board assembly the place a vote of no confidence in Grassie was initially on their agenda earlier than it was shelved on the final minute in order that the main target of tonight’s joint Board and Council assembly was not distracted from coping with Gammell’s governance overview. If he didn’t know his standing in clubland earlier than, maybe Grassie does now.

With none membership oversight, as supplied by Sheriff Invoice Dunlop’s report of 2005, Murrayfield’s executives may develop into a self-perpetuating elite, parasites in all however identify, sucking heartily on the teat of Scottish Rugby, particularly when/if the CVC cash is forthcoming.

Within the meantime, Scottish rugby has to endure some dodgy Douche Financial institution practices. In a basic instance of how Murrayfield bends the reality to swimsuit itself, the Scottish Rugby Council (made up of the golf equipment) declined to endorse or condemn Gammell’s suggestions however agreed that they need to go earlier than the golf equipment for his or her verdict with out remark.

Murrayfield put out an announcement insisting that the Council endorsed in precept the Gemmell Report when the Council had merely agreed to place the matter earlier than the golf equipment. This distortion of occasions would have been unthinkable by Murrayfield prime brass even a decade in the past; not so now.

Murrayfield centered on alcohol following the Finn Russell affair when the crux of the matter was his poisonous relationship with Townsend. On the AGM, Murrayfield claimed to be debt free however a better take a look at the books revealed that this was “true” solely as a result of a number of payments have been excellent.

Murrayfield is rotten to the core and, if the chairman is a part of the issue, it’s left to the golf equipment to cleanse the Augean stables … whereas they nonetheless can.


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