Mark Dodson to brief clubs on Scottish Rugby Union’s financial position

Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson.Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson.
Scottish Rugby Union chief executive Mark Dodson.
Scottish Rugby chief Mark Dodson will brief clubs on the union’s financial position next week amid what he describes as “the most disruptive episode in the sport since the Second World War”.

The briefing will take place during the second stage of the SRU’s agm on Thursday but it will not be accompanied by the publication of the governing body’s annual accounts.

The big reveal on the financial figures will now take place at an unprecedented third part of the agm at a date yet to be specified in December. The first part of the agm was on 15 August.

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The accounts are not expected to make pretty reading as Scottish Rugby tries to come to terms with the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

The absence of paying spectators from Scotland matches has robbed the union of its biggest revenue source, although this has been partially offset by income from private equity firm CVC’s investment in the Pro14.

Writing in Scottish Rugby’s annual review, Dodson said: “In summary, we face the greatest challenge in recent history as we deal with the effects of Covid-19 on our Union and the wider sport.

“I will brief our clubs on our financial position at the second stage of the agm on 26 November and send out more financial information soon afterwards for you to consider.

“A third stage of the agm will be called to discuss our financial performance in 2019/20 and outlook for 2020/21 with our stakeholders in more detail and during which our accounts for 2019/20 will be laid before the clubs.

Questions focused on our financial position will be welcomed and specific answers given during that meeting, and afterwards for any that need a more detailed response. We will also publish those questions and answers on the website for any members who are unable to attend.

“Meantime, I would like to reassure you that your Board, Council and Executive continue to work together closely, as we have done throughout, to act in the best interests of Scottish Rugby and its stakeholders and in providing as robust a platform as we can to support future recovery, while dealing with the daily challenges that Covid-19 continues to present.”

Dodson and other SRU high earners took pay cuts in April after initially taking only pay deferrals at the outset of the pandemic. Players and other staff were put on furlough.

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Dominic McKay, the SRU’s chief operating officer, said they would continue to work closely with the Government to plot a way through the pandemic.

McKay wrote in the annual report: “There is no disguising that the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic has been acutely felt by Scottish Rugby.

“Deprived of income through our turnstiles as we have had to play almost entirely behind closed doors and the knock-on effect to other aspects of our commercial operation, it has been a very tough year.

“Throughout what have seemed at times to be the never-ending challenges of the pandemic, our priority has been the safety and well-being of our people and that wider community.

“We have worked closely with the Scottish Government and other authorities to emphasise, above all, our duty to public health and our readiness to comply with and promote the key messages designed to steer us through the pandemic.”

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