Whistleblower Megson is still in the running

ELECTIONS to the brand new Scottish Rugby Council have been on-going for the last few months with fresh faces and fresh thinking replacing the old guard in most of the posts. As of this weekend, just three positions remain vacant. The players must choose their representative and the election of next year's president, a contest between Andy Irvine and George Blackie, is absolutely crucial because the result could still derail the entire modernisation process.

Elsewhere, the whistle-blowers have until noon on Tuesday to decide between Jim Fleming and Ray Megson although the fact that the latter is standing at all will come as a surprise to his colleagues on the general committee.

The referee's rep on the GC, Megson was sanctioned by the president of the SRU for distributing a document about the old executive board that was deemed grossly misleading. The document was given by Megson to the referees' association, who promptly leaked it to the clubs. Despite being totally discredited before the ink was even dry, it added to the mountain of misinformation.

It has now emerged that Megson stated at the time that he had no intention of standing for the general committee again, although he denies that this statement was connected to the leaked document or any possible censure.

Still, it has not stopped him from running against Fleming for the referees' slot in the new-look council that replaces the discredited committee. "Purely because of all the flak that's been flying about," was Megson's odd explanation of his volte-face last week.

IT IS difficult to read Ian McGeechan's mewling self-justification in the pages of one national newspaper without feeling a lump in the throat... nausea that is. The former director of rugby headlined with: "Why I had to sack Matt Williams." He didn't. The executive board sacked Williams. McGeechan's role was rather less meretricious since he was one of three men who actually hired the Australian in the first place. Then there was the news that he had secured 250,000 IRB funding when all he had done was apply for it. Over the years, McGeechan has given great service to Scottish rugby, the manner of his departure does him no favours.

RATHER than a 250,000 legacy, McGeechan has actually left another shambles in his wake. Last year, after much debate, the pro-team apprentices were paid from a central fund, but from next season they were supposed to be paid out of the pro-team budgets; a salient fact no-one passed on to the pro-teams. Several apprentices across Scotland with verbal or written contracts have now been left in limbo, unaware of their status next season, while the union searches down the back of the sofa for the wherewithal to pay them. One person at the centre of the controversy said that McGeechan had been asked "ten times" who was responsible for paying the youngsters without ever giving an adequate answer. Perhaps his mind was on other things.