Scottish Rugby has instigated “a full review” into the findings of the employment tribunal which decided that Keith Russell had been unfairly dismissed by the governing body. The review is to be led by Lesley Thomson, a non-executive director of the SRU, and there is as yet no commitment to making its findings public.
The decision to hold the review was announced yesterday in a joint statement from the SRU’s Council and Board, the two bodies which oversee the actions of the chief executive. Russell, the former head of domestic rugby who is the father of Scotland stand-off Finn, was highly critical of what he termed the failure of such bodies to hold chief executive Mark Dodson to account.
There is no specific timescale for the review other than the suggestion in the statement that it “will be concluded as expediently as is practicable”, but the Board and Council have committed themselves to “work through any findings and recommendations which will be incorporated into our activities going forward”.
Dodson and SRU president Rob Flockhart held a press conference yesterday just after the statement was issued, with both men insisting that the review would be a worthwhile exercise. “I can assure you it will be robust,” Flockhart said. “Lesley has been given full brief to take outside advice both legal and business. I anticipate that we will have a robust report, which board and then council will look at very carefully. We will then act on any recommendations that come out of that.
“It won’t be up to the chief executive, it will be up to the board and council to take that forward. I have no doubt she won’t get anything wrong: she is a hugely impressive lady with a hugely successful career. I have no doubt at all we will be acting on the recommendations of that report.”
While insisting that he had never contemplated resigning as a result of the Russell tribunal, Dodson expressed a degree of contrition about an affair that has damaged his standing in the game. “I’m sorry we’ve arrived at this regrettable situation,” he said.
“We’re learning lessons and we will learn lessons from what the review recommends. I have never had any personal animosity with Keith and I wish him well in the future. I’m just disappointed that we couldn’t find a means of resolving the matter before it went to the tribunal.”