Celtic concerns over Scots crisis

As Edinburgh prepare to make a ‘massive announcement’ on Tuesday concerning their precarious future, and as Chief Executive Bob Carruthers braces for a disciplinary hearing with the SRU on Thursday, the other Magners League teams are voicing their concerns at the situation.

Edinburgh formally resigned from the SRU on Monday, meaning that under IRB rules their participation in the Magners League has been ended because they are no longer affiliated to a union.

Carruthers took the extraordinary step as a result of an ongoing dispute with the union, by whom Carruthers feels short-changed with Edinburgh’s revenue shares of the tournaments they compete in.

Edinburgh’s Scotland players were withdrawn from national training camp ahead of the Rugby World Cup, prompting a misconduct charge from the SRU, which Carruthers insists he will not face unless the arbitrators are not appointed by the union.

“This is not an appropriate forum to investigate what is essentially a commercial dispute to which SRU plc are a party,” said Carruthers to The Scotsman.

“Also, it is based on misinterpretation – disciplinary hearings are meant for establishing what happens next when a bloke from one club punches another club.

“In those circumstances, while the memory is fresh, it has to be established whether the touch judge saw anything and so on.

“We accept the SRU must have jurisdiction over the game in that kind of situation and others.

“(But) this is a fishing expedition (on behalf of the SRU).

“There are hundreds of well qualified firms in Edinburgh along who can conduct arbitration.”

Meanwhile, both Leinster and Llanelli dignitaries have voiced their concern at the situation, which could reduce the Magners League to nine teams next season if it continues.

“This decision does not do anyone any favours,” said Leinster media officer Peter Breen.

“Being based in Dublin we always look forward to clashes between two great rugby cities. It goes beyond that because by signing Stephen Larkham Edinburgh have helped raise the standard of the league.”

Scarlets Chief Executive Stuart Gallacher, whose side has just begun development of a brand-new custom-built arena, worded his concerns rather more strongly and specifically.

“The possible exclusion of Edinburgh from the Magners Celtic League and Heineken European Cup is a disaster with huge implications,” he said.

“The credibility of the league is affected as we would be down to nine teams, leaving only eight home matches a season.

“As for European competition, of which I am a director, Scotland are (already) without representation in the second-tier event.

“They are getting support in troubled times of having two teams entered in the Cup and not in the second tier just as Wales did a few years ago but the long term is worrying.

“If Edinburgh do drop out then even more players will leave Scotland.

“Already this summer we have seen the departures of Scott Murray, Chris Cusiter, Simon Taylor and our own new signing from Borders, Bruce Douglas.

“This whole business transcends possible player-signings, however.

“It is much more important that European rugby has Scotland competing and, hopefully, that can happen again.”


365 Digital

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