Edinburgh duo quit leaving Scotland bare

Professional rugby in Scotland is facing an uncertain future after Edinburgh Rugby’s executive chairman Alex Carruthers and managing director Graeme Stirling resigned on Wednesday.

The pair decided to walk away after months of feuding with the Scottish Rugby Union over the distribution of Heineken Cup and Magners League revenues.

“We can’t accept what’s going on, and the way the SRU have been conducting their business,” said Carruthers

“We’ve given it our best shot and we’re walking away with our reputations still intact, but we’re absolutely disgusted at the way we have been handled by the SRU. It is a very sad and disappointing day.

“We got into this because we wanted to run a successful rugby team, but we are being prevented from doing that by the SRU, and it is time to walk away.”

In an effort to bring the situation to a head, Edinburgh decided earlier this week to instruct their international players to train with the club, instead of with national coach Frank Hadden’s training squad for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup.

That brought about a crisis meeting yesterday, but when a satisfactory solution to the impasse could not be found Carruthers and Stirling decided that they wanted out.

Meanwhile the twelve Edinburgh players who have found themselves in the middle of this battle of wills have been told that they will continue to train with Edinburgh instead of Scotland until the situation is resolved.

Edinburgh became the first club to be franchised by the SRU almost exactly 12 months ago, when a consortium fronted by the Carruthers brothers (Alex and his older brother Bob) appeared from nowhere to take on the capital side.

At the time the deal was heralded by Gordon McKie, the chief executive of the SRU, as an important step towards making the professional game in Scotland viable, but it did not take long for the relationship to turn sour, with a number of very public spats taking place over a range of issues.

Bones of contention included revenue distribution and the controversial decision by the SRU to close the Border Reivers professional rugby team without consulting Edinburgh.

Bob Carruthers has indicated that he plans to continue the franchise arrangement, but the long-term sustainability of the partnership looks more and more doubtful with every passing week.

When explaining their decision to close the Reivers, the SRU claimed that they could not afford to fully fund two competitive professional sides (Glasgow remain under full SRU control), so if the Edinburgh franchise were to collapse there could be serious ramifications.

 

365 Digital

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